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Japan shares extend rally, end at 29-1/2-year high on U.S. stimulus, vaccine hopes

12/02/2020 | 02:15am EDT

TOKYO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average closed at a 29-1/2-year high on Wednesday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S. stimulus package and progress in a COVID-19 vaccine, but gains were capped by some profit-taking after a strong November rally.

Nikkei ended up 0.05% at 26,800.98, its highest closing since April 1991, extending its bull run after U.S. elections. The broader Topix rose 0.32% to 1,773.97, edging near a two-year peak touched last Friday.

"With the Nikkei so close to 27,000, investors are getting a bit cautious. We've priced in a lot of good news. But I don't think the market will fall that much either," said Naoya Oshikubo, senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

Sentiment was also fuelled as U.S. politicians put forth a flurry of proposals on coronavirus relief packages after a month-long partisan standoff.

Hopes that vaccines can reduce the need for strict social restrictions next year also underpinned the market, especially value shares.

Honda Motor rose 5.1% while retailer Seven&i Holdings climbed 3.3% and Takeda Pharmaceutical added 2.9%.

Topix value rose 1.01%, outperforming 0.32% gains in growth shares.

The Nikkei's gains were checked by a 4.8% drop in Recruit Holdings, after the recruitment advertiser said its shareholders would sell 416.8 billion yen ($4 billion) worth of shares in the company to overseas investors.

Some other large-cap growth shares were bruised by profit-taking, with both Sony and Hoya losing 2.0% each.

Ito en lost 3.8% after the beverage firm cut its annual net profit outlook by more than a half.

Nishimatsuya Chain dropped 2.7% after the retailer of kids clothes' earnings upgrade prompted profit-taking from the shares' 60% gains so far this year.

Workman fell 5.0% after the clothing retailer's November sales grew 8.6% but came in short of market expectations.

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. -2.09% 3416 End-of-day quote.18.71%
HOYA CORPORATION -2.55% 17000 End-of-day quote.19.13%
ITO EN, LTD. -1.37% 7190 End-of-day quote.10.11%
NIKKEI 225 -1.87% 28708.58 Real-time Quote.6.60%
NISHIMATSUYA CHAIN CO., LTD. -1.17% 1431 End-of-day quote.-3.38%
RECRUIT HOLDINGS CO., LTD. -2.59% 7045 End-of-day quote.63.04%
SEVEN & I HOLDINGS CO., LTD. 0.17% 4773 End-of-day quote.30.45%
SONY GROUP CORPORATION -1.21% 12665 End-of-day quote.23.14%
SUMITOMO MITSUI FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. -1.10% 3872 End-of-day quote.21.46%
SUMITOMO MITSUI TRUST HOLDINGS, INC. 0.05% 3917 End-of-day quote.23.29%
TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY LIMITED -1.20% 3207 End-of-day quote.-14.59%
WORKMAN CO.,LTD. -2.42% 6040 End-of-day quote.-31.36%
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