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Japanese shares end lower on profit-booking, drugmakers limit losses

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed lower on Monday, as investors locked in gains after a recent rally, although the losses were limited by a positive finish from local drugmakers.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.99% lower at 28,860.08, while the broader Topix fell 1.26% to 1,922.98.

The Nikkei had jumped 2.1% on Friday to close at the 29,000-level for the first time since May 10, while Wall Street finished with marginal gains.

“There aren’t any reasons to buy Japanese stocks at the moment except that the vaccine rollouts are proceeding well. That is helping cap the declines in the session,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Japan started its inoculation drive in mid-February, later than most major economies, and has been racing to vaccinate most of its elderly population before the start of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.

Index heavyweights Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group weighed on the Nikkei, after slipping 0.73% and 1.57%, respectively.

Renesas Electronics Corp sank 5.51% after the chipmaker announced a sale of about $2 billion shares to help it fund its planned $6 billion purchase of Dialog Semiconductor .

Drugmakers advanced, with Astellas Pharma jumping 2.1% and Chugai Pharmaceutical gaining 0.45%.

Astellas was the largest percentage gainer on the Nikkei, followed by Advantest gaining 2.06% and Yaskawa Electric up 1.34%.

The largest percentage loser on the index was NTN down 4.95%, followed by Fukuoka Financial Group, losing 4.71% and Shinsei Bank down 4.01%.

There were 16 advancers on the index against 206 decliners. (Reportingi by Junko Fujita, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.V)

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