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SoftBank, travel stocks lift Japanese shares as Omicron worries ease

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By Junko Fujita

TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Japanese shares jumped on Tuesday, led by SoftBank and travel related stocks, as easing worries over the economic impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant boosted sentiment.

The Nikkei share average jumped 1.27% to 28,282.01 by the midday close, while the broader Topix rose 1.23% to 1,971.44.

The Japanese market also tracked Wall Street's major averages higher as investors were encouraged by some optimistic comments from a top U.S. official on the latest COVID-19 variant.

"We have more details on the Omicron and it seems that impact would not be that serious. That has given a relief to investors," said Kazuharu Konishi, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.

SoftBank Group, global tech investor which dragged down the Nikkei in the previous session, jumped 7.76% and was the biggest percentage gainer on the index.

Other heavyweights rose, with Uniqlo clothing shop owner Fast Retailing rising 0.84% and chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron gaining 0.82%.

Shares that would benefit from an economic reopening rose, with airlines and railway operators led gains of the exchange's 33 industry sub-indexes, by rising 3.05% and 2.2%, respectively.

Travel related online services Open Door surged 7.61% and Airtrip gained 5.41%.

"The markets have been volatile globally. But these volatilities suggest that the market is moving by bets by short term investors," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities.

"Even as concerns over the Omicron has been eased, but the Nikkei's 30,000 level has become a too high target and the market will hover around the 29,000 level toward the end of the year."

Nippon Suisan Kaisha, which fell 6.96%, was the largest parentage loser on the index, followed by Z Holdings , losing 1.83% and Konami Holdings, which fell 1.78%.

There were 199 advancers on the Nikkei index against 23 decliners. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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