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
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
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
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
(Reporting by Junko Fujita;
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)