Nikkei ends lower as rising COVID-19 infections sap risk appetite

  • Reuters
Nikkei ends lower as rising COVID-19 infections sap risk appetite

TOKYO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended weaker on Tuesday as rising COVID-19 infections sapped investors appetite for risk assets and forced the government to suspend its domestic tourism promotion campaign, hitting airlines and other travel-related stocks.

The Nikkei share average .N225 dropped 0.17% to 26,687.84. The broader Topix .TOPX lost 0.47% to 1,782.05, with decliners outnumbering advancers by a ratio of 3 to 2.

Investors are locking in profit from recent gains, ahead of policy announcements later this week by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

Concerns about increasing COVID-19 infections and lockdowns around the world overshadowed optimism over the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations. MKTS/GLOB

Tourism-related shares took a hit after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the travel subsidy programme dubbed "Go To Travel" would be suspended nationwide around the New Year to contain mounting COVID-19 cases. Holdings 9202.T lost 7.9% after investors flipped some of its newly issued stocks while rival JAL 9201.T lost 3.4%. L4N2IV0HD

On the other hand, some game-related shares rode higher as the worsening domestic outbreak is seen as boosting demand for game products.

GungHo Online Entertainment 3765.T added 0.5% while Gree 3632.T gained 2.7%.

Clean energy is becoming another hot theme, with Kawasaki Heavy 7012.T rising 5.7%, extending gains on its announcement earlier in the week that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd FMG.AX to develop a supply chain of "green" hydrogen. Kinzoku 5491.T rose by daily limit of 28% on speculation of surge in demand for its product for injection needles as COVID-19 vaccinations start globally.

Euglena 2931.T gained 2.5% after the bio-tech firm said it is considering buying health product maker Q'say.

Kobe Bussan 3038.T dropped 7.9% after its earnings fell short of market expectations.

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