TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
retreated on Wednesday from a more than 29-year closing high
notched a day earlier, as soaring COVID-19 cases paused a global
equity rally fuelled by vaccine hopes.
The benchmark Nikkei share average dropped 0.76% to
25,817.18 by the midday break. The index, which has gained more
than 12% so far this month, posted its highest close since May
14, 1991 on Tuesday.
The broader Topix lost 0.53% to 1,725.50.
Japanese equities also tracked Wall Street lower as surging
COVID-19 cases, growing threats of a fresh round of economic
lockdowns and weak retail sales data dampened the euphoria
caused by potential vaccine breakthroughs.
Tokyo is also preparing to raise its coronavirus alert level
to the highest of four levels as new cases in the Japanese
capital creep up, the Nikkei business daily
All but three of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo
exchange traded lower, with highly cyclical non-ferrous metals
, shippers and airlines leading
the decline on the main bourse.
Analysts said a sense of short-term overheating on the
Nikkei and a stronger yen also prompted investors to book
The dollar eased against the yen to 104.1 in early
Asian trade, weighing on export-oriented companies such as
Toyota Motor Corp, Sony Corp and Honda Motor
, which fell between 1.3% and 3.5%.
SoftBank Group Corp inched down 0.21%, mirroring
the Nasdaq's weak performance overnight.
Separately, the company's chief executive officer, Masayoshi
Son, said at the New York Times-hosted DealBook Online Summit
that he was sitting on about $80 billion in cash for investments
and share buybacks.
The Mothers Index of start-up firm shares bucked the
overall sombre mood, adding 1%.
(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)