TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares erased early gains
and edged down on Monday, as worries about slow-paced domestic
vaccination rollouts weighed on sentiment, with index
heavyweights including Tokyo Electron Ltd leading declines.
The Nikkei share average lost 1.18%% to 27,753.83 by
0235 GMT, after rising as much as 0.8% earlier in the session,
while the broader Topix edged down 0.36% to 1,876.62.
"Japanese tech shares could have tracked Nasdaq's higher
today but they didn't. That means the market has negative
reasons that are unique to Japan," said Norihiro Fujito, chief
investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
"The biggest reason is slow rollouts of vaccines. That
weighs on business sentiment, which prompted investors to sell
the Nikkei's heavyweights."
Chipmaking equipment maker supplier Tokyo Electron
fell 3.68%, becoming the biggest drag on Nikkei.
Other heavyweights also lost ground, with SoftBank Group
losing 1.13% and Fast Retailing, operator of
Uniqlo clothing stores, down 1.9%.
On Friday, Japan expanded a state of emergency to three more
prefectures in a surprise move that reflects growing concern
about the spread of the coronavirus.
While medical resources are being pushed to the brink,
Japan's inoculation drive has been the slowest among advanced
nations, with just 3% of the population vaccinated, according to
Honda Motor fell 3.22%, as the automaker warned
semiconductor shortages and higher raw material costs would curb
growth in the current year.
Seven & i Holdings fell 3.89% after U.S. officials
raised competitive concerns over the Japanese retailer's
acquisition of 3,900 Speedway gas and convenience stores from
Marathon Petroleum Corp.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)