TOKYO, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Japanese shares fell on Wednesday as investors booked profits after a recent rally drove them to a 30-year high, even as pandemic-beaten shares gained on expectations for an economic recovery from a coronavirus-driven slump.
The Nikkei share average edged down 0.58% to 30,292.19 from Tuesday’s high of 30,714.52, a peak since August 1990.
The broader Topix slipped 0.18% to 1,961.49, a day after scaling its highest since June 1991.
“Investors are selling stocks for profit booking today. The market is taking a pause from a rising momentum,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.
“Shares that were beaten down amid the pandemic are being bought as rising interest rates in the U.S. and Japan indicates an economic recovery. Rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines in Japan is another positive factor.”
Chip and electronics shares led losses in Nikkei, with TDK down 3.23%, Yaskawa Electric losing 3.23% and Tokyo Electron shedding 2.2%.
The declines followed a drop overnight in U.S. technology stocks.
Bridgestone fell 4.13% after the tire maker posted its first annual net loss in 69 years due to impairment and restructuring costs, following the pandemic.
Shares whose valuations had shot up after a recent rally also took a hit, with M3 falling 3.88% and Keyence losing 1.09%.
On the other hand, travel- and leisure-related shares did well after Japan launched its COVID-19 inoculation drive on Wednesday.
ANA Holdings jumped 4.19% while Japan Airlines rose 4.21%. Central Japan Railway, which runs bullet trains connecting Tokyo and Osaka, rose 2.52%.
Oriental Land, the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, rose 3.41%.
Shipping firms Kawasaki Kisen jumped 5.69% and Mitsui OSK Lines gained 4.45%.
Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi