Nikkei soars helped by exporters; drugmakers fall

TOKYO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average soared to a level not seen since November 1991 on Thursday morning after exporters such as electronics components manufacturers surged, tracking the strength on Wall Street overnight.

The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 23,962.11 in midmorning trade, after hitting 24,084.42, the highest level since November 1991.

U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday as investors' expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across sectors.

Japanese chip making equipment manufacturers jumped, with Advantest surging 5 percent and Tokyo Electron soaring 3.4 percent.

Electronic components makers Kyocera surged 1.3 percent, TDK soared 2.5 percent and motor maker Nidec advanced 1.9 percent.

Drugmakers, on the other hand, lost ground, with Eisai falling 1.7 percent and Astellas Pharma sliding 1.3 percent.

The broader Topix, however, shed 0.1 percent to 1,889.62. (Editing by Sam Holmes)