Nikkei ends at 30-yr high as drug makers rally on COVID-19 treatment news

  • Reuters
Nikkei ends at 30-yr high as drug makers rally on COVID-19 treatment news

TOKYO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei share average inched up to close at a fresh three-decade high on Tuesday, as drug makers led the charge on a report that Chugai Pharmaceutical's drug was effective in treating COVID-19 patients.

The Nikkei index ended 0.09% higher at 28,164.34 after recovering from early declines, while the broader Topix index .TOPX edged up 0.16% to 1,857.94.

"Investors bought back stocks as soon as the market started falling, showing the fundamental strength of demand," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

"They (also) got confidence in the market as U.S. futures rose overnight." MKTS/GLOB .N

Chugai Pharmaceutical 4519.T jumped 5.91% on the drug-effectiveness news, helping boost the drug maker index .IPHAM.T by 1.68%.

Other companies such as Takeda Pharmaceutical 4502.T , Eisai 4523.T , and Shionogi & Co 4507.T gained between 1.95% and 3.38%.

The COVID-19 treatment news comes at a time when Japan plans to expand its declaration of state of emergency to three western prefectures including Osaka to stem the spread of COVID-19, according to local media. other shares, SoftBank Group gained 1.36% after a fund it manages sold part of its stake in Uber Technologies UBER.N for $2 billion.

Retail stocks rose, led by a 5.52% rise in Ryohin Keikaku 7453.T after the Muji retail stores operator posted a 69% jump in quarterly net profit. Lawson 2651.T rose 2.24%, while Watts Co 2735.T jumped 10.37%.

Semiconductor shares rose on prospects of stronger chip demand, with Tokyo Electron 8035.T adding 0.29% and Shin-Etsu Chemical 4063.T climbing 3.29%.

Bucking the trend, automakers slid after Toyota Motor 7203.T and Honda Motor 7267.T said they would cut vehicle production this month due to a shortage of semiconductors. fell 0.59% and Honda Motor declined 1.55%.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp 9432.T , which was down 2.54%, followed by Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd 3382.T , losing 2.08%.

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