Japan shares slip on caution ahead of U.S. inflation data, Eisai extends gains

TOKYO, June 9 (Reuters) – Japanese equities slipped on Wednesday as investors took profits in shippers and semiconductor firms, with U.S. inflation data in focus as it could influence how soon the Federal Reserve pares its stimulus programme.

Financial firms and insurers declined, as a retreat in long-term U.S. Treasury yields dampened the outlook for returns on their portfolios.

Eisai Co, however, was poised to rise by the daily limit for a second session after its Alzheimer’s drug got a nod from U.S. regulators on Monday.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.3% to 28,868.29 at the midday break, while the broader Topix slid 0.2% to 1,958.30.

“Japanese investors want to see the U.S. CPI number tomorrow, and if it’s not faster than expected, that should come as a relief to markets and could very well result in a rally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

Right now though, “there’s a strong wait-and-see attitude overall in markets,” he said, adding investors booked profits and squared positions ahead of the data.

The Topix’s sea transport subsector was the biggest decliner, sliding 2.8%, following its surge to the highest in more than a decade.

Semiconductor firm Lasertec tumbled about 6%, declining for a third day after climbing to a record peak.

Meanwhile, real estate was the best performing subsector, rising 3.4%. Air transport jumped about 3% and land transport added 1.4%, as Japan’s accelerating coronavirus vaccination programme buoyed the outlook for people to return to offices and start riding trains and airplanes again.

Pharmaceutical companies, meanwhile, rose 1.3%.

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