TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
slipped on Thursday as investors turned cautious ahead of key
central bank meetings next week, although strong gains for
airlines limited losses with Omicron fears continuing to recede.
The Nikkei 225 declined 0.15% to 28,818.53 as of the
lunch break, but had earlier touched a nearly two-week intraday
high of 28,908.29.
The U.S. Federal Reserve headlines a string of central bank
policy decisions next week, which also includes the Bank of
Japan and European Central Bank.
"Investors seem to want to take time to judge the direction
of financial markets with so many key central banks meetings
next week, so they are adopting a wait-and-see approach," said
Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS
"The 200-day moving average is putting a tight lid on
The 200-day moving average provided stiff resistance at
28,895.39, as investors took a breather following a more than 4%
rally from last Thursday's close.
The broader Topix sank 0.33%, with metal products
, textiles and machinery stocks
Automakers also took a hit, with Nissan off 1.79%,
and Honda down 0.83%.
The Topix Growth Index lost 0.18%, compared with a
0.49% decline for the Topix Value Index.
Airlines, meanwhile, outperformed on hopes that
the Omicron coronavirus variant will not significantly disrupt
economic reopenings. The sector's 1.71% gain outpaced peers by a
big margin, with ANA Holdings gaining 1.46% and Japan
Airlines rallying 2.01%.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech said on Wednesday their
three-shot course of the vaccine was able to neutralize the new
variant in a laboratory test, and they could deliver an upgraded
vaccine in March 2022 if needed.
SoftBank Group gained 1.64%, the best performer on
the Nikkei by index points.
Internet retailer Rakuten Group jumped 1.82% and
sauce-maker Kikkoman rallied 2.05%.
(Editing by Devika Syamnath)