By Sophie Knight
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average jumped 2 percent to post its biggest one-day gain in more than 3 months on Monday, buoyed by solid U.S. jobs data and strong earnings for Toyota Motor Co <7203.T> that provided reassurance amid a poor earnings season.
Bargain-hunting for stocks that have been punished for posting poor results also propped up the market, with Komatsu Ltd <6301.T> and Fanuc Corp <6954.T> recovering after both slid more than 8 percent last week.
Major exporters also fared well from a softer yen, with demand for the safe-haven currency falling on Friday as risk appetite improved on data showing U.S. employers hired the most workers in five months in July, beating expectations.
The Nikkei rose to 8,726.29, but stopped short of strong resistance around 8,741, its 25-day moving average.
"Risk aversion is lifting but the gains we're seeing are mostly driven by short-covering and exporters are still largely in a bad way, as the earnings showed," said Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities.
Japan's quarterly earnings season, which trundles on this week, has seen a host of companies cut their profit outlooks due to slowing demand in debt-ridden Europe and the United States and China, where growth is slowing.
Some stocks were heavily targeted after hopes of stimulus from central banks, which had offset pessimism about slowing growth early last week, were dashed when the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank held back from changing policy.
"The market had taken such a long time to catch up to what the economy was telling economists that they've actually now gone beyond that and started to forecast very weak outcomes which have not actually transpired," said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.
Some stocks continued to take a hammering, with Nippon Sheet Glass Co Ltd <5202.T> shedding a further 6.7 after skidding 14.3 percent on Friday, when it cut its full-year forecast because of "significantly worse-than-expected" market conditions.
Sharp Corp's <6753.T> woes also continued as it shed 5.7 percent after Taiwanese shareholder Hon Hai Precision Industry <2317.TW> said it did not need to honour a March agreement to invest in Sharp "due to the volatility of the share price".
Sharp's stock plummeted 28 percent on Friday after the company shocked investors by revising its full-year outlook to a massive operating loss.
However, the market was propped up by investors returning to buy companies that were oversold last week.
Honda, which fell 5.7 percent on Wednesday after investors were disappointed with its U.S. quarterly sales, recovered 2.8 percent, helped by the softer yen.
Industrial robot firm Fanuc Corp rebounded 4.9 percent, while construction machine maker Komatsu Ltd rose 1.6 percent.
Toyota, meanwhile, rose 2.5 percent after posting its largest quarterly operating profit for four years in April-to-June, while the company hiked its full-year sales target on strong U.S. and domestic demand.
While risk sentiment appeared much improved, with the mining sub-index of the Topix up 3.9 percent and the securities sub-index just behind with an advance of 3.1 percent, some investors were still wary.
"The uncertainty and negative factors that hurt stocks last week are still lurking, so I think that gains will be limited," said Hideyuki Fukunaga, CEO at Investrust.
Market players are now eyeing a raft of important Chinese data and the conclusion of a Bank of Japan policy meeting, both due on Thursday.
"If the Chinese data comes out positive then we might see a reversal of the losses suffered last week after all the central banks disappointed by not introducing further easing," Fukunaga said.
"I think it needs more volume to break through its 25-day moving average, though, and I don't think it will come through."
The broader Topix rose 1.6 percent to 735.73 in moderate trade, with volume at 84.6 percent of its 90-day average.
(Editing by Richard Pullin)