TOKYO: Japan's benchmark Nikkei share average inched up to close at a fresh three-decade high on Tuesday, as drug makers led the charge on a report that Chugai Pharmaceutical's drug was effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Nikkei index ended 0.09% higher at 28,164.34 after recovering from early declines, while the broader Topix index edged up 0.16% to 1,857.94.
Chugai Pharmaceutical jumped 5.91% on the drug-effectiveness news, helping boost the drug maker index by 1.68%.
Other companies such as Takeda Pharmaceutical, Eisai, and Shionogi & Co gained between 1.95% and 3.38%.
Among other shares, SoftBank Group gained 1.36% after a fund it manages sold part of its stake in Uber Technologies for $2 billion.
Retail stocks rose, led by a 5.52% rise in Ryohin Keikaku after the Muji retail stores operator posted a 69% jump in quarterly net profit. Lawson rose 2.24%, while Watts Co jumped 10.37%.
Semiconductor shares rose on prospects of stronger chip demand, with Tokyo Electron adding 0.29% and Shin-Etsu Chemical climbing 3.29%.
Bucking the trend, automakers slid after Toyota Motor and Honda Motor said they would cut vehicle production this month due to a shortage of semiconductors.
Toyota fell 0.59% and Honda Motor declined 1.55%. The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, which was down 2.54%, followed by Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd, losing 2.08%.