TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares reversed course to
settle lower on Monday, as worries over the slow pace of the
domestic vaccination drive overwhelmed a boost from solid gains
in Wall Street shares.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.92% to close at
27,824.83, after rising 0.8% earlier in the session, while the
broader Topix edged down 0.24% to 1,878.86.
"Japanese tech shares could have tracked Nasdaq's higher
finish on Friday but they didn't. That means the market has
negative reasons that are unique to Japan," said Norihiro
Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan
"The biggest reason is the slow rollouts of vaccines. That
weighs on business sentiment, which prompted investors to sell
the Nikkei's heavyweights."
On Friday, Japan expanded a state of emergency to three more
prefectures in a surprise move that reflects growing concern
about the spread of the coronavirus.
Japan's inoculation drive has been the slowest among
advanced nations, with just 3% of the population vaccinated,
according to Reuters data.
"Coronavirus infections and slow vaccination are the biggest
factors. The measures that have been taken so far may not be
enough in curbing variants and economic activities may have to
slow down further," said Naoya Oshikubo, senior manager of
research at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset.
Disappointment over earnings and forecasts also weighed on
some shares. Honda Motor fell 2.68%, as the automaker
warned semiconductor shortages and higher raw material costs
would curb growth in the current year.
Fujikura dropped 15.4% and was the biggest decliner
among Nikkei constituents after the maker of cables and other
non-ferrous metal products posted downbeat earnings results.
Seven & i Holdings fell 3.1% after U.S. officials
raised competitive concerns over the Japanese retailer's
acquisition of 3,900 Speedway gas and convenience stores from
Marathon Petroleum Corp.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich and