Japanese stocks end lower on profit bookings, drugmakers limit losses

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) – Japanese stocks closed lower on Monday as investors stalled gains after a recent rally, although losses were limited by a positive finish from local drugmakers.

The Nikkei stock average ended down 0.99% to 28,860.08, while the larger Topix fell 1.26% to 1,922.98.

The Nikkei jumped 2.1% on Friday to close at the 29,000 level for the first time since May 10, while Wall Street finished with marginal gains.

“There is no reason to buy Japanese stocks at this time, except that the vaccine deployments are going well. This helps cap the session’s declines, ”said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Japan began its vaccination campaign in mid-February, later than most major economies, and has been battling to vaccinate most of its elderly population before the start of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.

The heavyweights of the Fast Retailing index and SoftBank Group weighed on the Nikkei, after losing 0.73% and 1.57% respectively.

Renesas Electronics Corp fell 5.51% after the chipmaker announced the sale of around $ 2 billion of shares to help fund its planned $ 6 billion purchase of Dialog Semiconductor.

Drugmakers advanced, with Astellas Pharma surging 2.1% and Chugai Pharmaceutical gaining 0.45%.

Astellas was the biggest percentage winner on the Nikkei, followed by Advantest with 2.06% and Yaskawa Electric with 1.34%.

The index’s biggest losing percentage was NTN down 4.95%, followed by Fukuoka Financial Group, losing 4.71% and Shinsei Bank down 4.01%.

There were 16 progressors on the index against 206 declining ones. (Reportingi by Junko Fujita, edited by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.V)

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