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Nikkei slips as investors turn cautious before Fed, BOJ meetings

12/08/2021 | 10:36pm EDT

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 Asset Management.

"The 200-day moving average is putting a tight lid on gains."

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 leading declines.

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)


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANA HOLDINGS INC. 2.22% 2606 Delayed Quote.8.38%
HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. 0.51% 3144 Delayed Quote.-2.66%
JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. 2.11% 2374 Delayed Quote.8.11%
KIKKOMAN CORPORATION 0.00% 6620 Delayed Quote.-31.54%
NISSAN MOTOR CO LTD 0.53% 490.2 Delayed Quote.-11.80%
RAKUTEN, INC 1.82% 727 Delayed Quote.-37.00%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. 3.43% 5341 Delayed Quote.-1.71%
TOPIX INDEX 0.52% 1887.3 Delayed Quote.-5.27%
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