Nikkei slips as rising COVID-19 infections sap risk appetite

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

TOKYO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares dipped 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 leisure stocks.

The Nikkei share average .N225 dropped 0.31% to 26,648.83, still stuck in its familiar range over the past few weeks. The broader Topix .TOPX lost 0.48% to 1,781.87.

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 6.9% after investors flipped some of its newly issued stocks while rival JAL 9201.T lost 3.1%. L4N2IV0HD

On the other hand, Nintendo 7974.T led game-related shares higher as the worsening domestic outbreak is seen as boosting demand for game products.

Capcom 9697.T rose 1.4% while GungHo Online Entertainment 3765.T addde 1.6%. Gree 3632.T gained 3.2% and Koei Tecmo 3635.T added 1.6%.

Clean energy is becoming another hot theme, with Kawasaki Heavy 7012.T rising 5.8%, 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 4.4% after the bio-tech firm said it is considering buying health product maker Q'say.

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