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Japan shares retreat from multi-decade highs on vaccine supply-chain woes

12/03/2020 | 10:21pm EST

TOKYO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Japanese shares on Friday retreated from a near 29-1/2-year high, as risk sentiment soured following a report that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc slashed the target for the rollout of its coronavirus vaccine.

The benchmark Nikkei share average lost 0.44% to 26,690.47 by the midday break, but was poised for its fifth consecutive weekly gain. In the previous session, the index settled near its highest since April 1991.

The broader Topix fell 0.2% to 1,771.63.

The market tracked overnight weak performance on Wall Street's S&P 500 index, which fell from all-time highs, after Pfizer flagged challenges in supply chain for the raw materials used in its vaccine.

A stronger yen, last trading at 103.86 per dollar, also provided headwind for export-oriented stocks. Fanuc fell 1.1%, while Sony Corp edged 0.23% lower.

But market losses were limited by hopes that governments at home and abroad will deliver more economic stimulus, analysts said.

Some auto-related shares advanced after local media reported that Japan may ban sales of new gasoline-engine cars by the mid-2030s, and that the government would hold talks next week to establish a carbon offset market for the industry.

These moves come after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's pledge for Japan to slash carbon emissions to zero on a net basis by 2050.

Denso Corp jumped more than 6.3%, while Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor Corp added 0.74% and 0.54%, respectively.

Battery-related shares followed suit, with Furukawa Battery spiking 9% and FDK Corp edging up 0.61%.

Toshiba Corp jumped 3.47% on a report that Kioxia, previously known as Toshiba Memory, received permission from the U.S. authorities to export some products to Huawei Technologies.

Suga is expected to hold a news conference later in the day to provide an update on the country's pandemic response, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DENSO CORPORATION -0.61% 5993 End-of-day quote.-2.30%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.68% 30802.62 Delayed Quote.1.28%
FANUC CORPORATION -0.41% 26960 End-of-day quote.6.31%
FDK CORPORATION -1.28% 1768 End-of-day quote.-0.67%
NASDAQ 100 0.14% 13386.544679 Delayed Quote.3.71%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.03% 13550.090493 Delayed Quote.5.08%
NIKKEI 225 0.67% 28822.29 Real-time Quote.4.33%
NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. -1.10% 549.5 End-of-day quote.-1.88%
PFIZER INC. 0.97% 36.9092 Delayed Quote.-0.71%
S&P 500 -0.34% 3830.04 Delayed Quote.2.27%
SONY CORPORATION -1.72% 10300 End-of-day quote.0.15%
THE FURUKAWA BATTERY CO., LTD. 0.18% 1663 End-of-day quote.-10.01%
TOSHIBA CORPORATION 16.77% 3460 End-of-day quote.19.93%
TOYOTA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION 1.64% 8680 End-of-day quote.5.98%
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION 0.22% 7677 End-of-day quote.-3.52%
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