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

02/24/2021 | 01:46am EDT

TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANA HOLDINGS INC. 1.01% 2459.5 End-of-day quote.8.01%
CENTRAL JAPAN RAILWAY COMPANY 0.66% 15925 End-of-day quote.9.15%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.48% 34200.67 Delayed Quote.11.21%
EAST JAPAN RAILWAY COMPANY 0.07% 7570 End-of-day quote.9.95%
FANUC CORPORATION 0.31% 27255 End-of-day quote.7.47%
ISETAN MITSUKOSHI HOLDINGS LTD. 1.49% 751 End-of-day quote.23.11%
J. FRONT RETAILING CO., LTD. 2.16% 993 End-of-day quote.21.84%
JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. 0.79% 2286 End-of-day quote.14.59%
NASDAQ 100 0.11% 14041.908091 Delayed Quote.8.95%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.10% 14052.342146 Delayed Quote.9.03%
NIKKEI 225 0.14% 29683.37 Real-time Quote.8.16%
S&P 500 0.36% 4185.47 Delayed Quote.11.03%
SHIN-ETSU CHEMICAL CO., LTD. 0.58% 18995 End-of-day quote.5.29%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. -0.69% 10080 End-of-day quote.25.09%
TAKASHIMAYA COMPANY, LIMITED 2.64% 1204 End-of-day quote.36.05%
TOKYO ELECTRON LIMITED 0.37% 49120 End-of-day quote.27.92%
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