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Markets

Japan's Nikkei closes below 30,000 on profit booking in tech shares

  • Railway and airline shares gained, with Japan Airlines rising 3.6% and ANA Holdings gaining 2.12%.
24 Feb 2021

TOKYO: Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, closing below the 30,000 milestone for the first time in seven sessions, as investors booked profits in technology shares following a decline in the Nasdaq index.

The Nikkei share average slipped 1.61% to 29,671.70, falling below the psychologically important mark hit last week, while the broader Topix fell 1.82% to 1,903.07.

"Unstable moves of the US market overnight has made investors in Japan get worried about the outlook," said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management.

"Investors are rotating their targets now because of the rollouts of vaccines, which makes the virus-hit shares attractive."

The Nasdaq fell overnight, becoming the only major US stock index to lose ground while Wall Street reversed its losses, with the S&P 500 and the Dow reclaiming positive territory.

In Japan, index heavyweight SoftBank Group, down 5.2%, was the biggest contributor to Nikkei's fall.

Chip-related shares also dragged the index down, with Fanuc losing 4.66%, Tokyo Electron falling 2.74% and Shin-Etsu Chemical slipping 4.35%.

Pandemic-driven stocks including department store operators gained on hopes for normalization in the economy.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, up 5.19%, was the top Nikkei gainer, followed by Takashimaya, which rose 4.94%. J.Front Retailing rose 4.64%.

Regional governments in Japan have requested emergency pandemic measures be lifted ahead of the March 7 scheduled end as new COVID-19 cases trend lower, the country's economy minister said.

Railway and airline shares gained, with Japan Airlines rising 3.6% and ANA Holdings gaining 2.12%.

Central Japan Railway jumped 1.25% even as the operator of bullet trains between Tokyo and Osaka flagged bigger losses for the year ended March. East Japan Railway rose 1.77%.