TOKYO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed flat on Wednesday as investors chose to book profit after the Nikkei briefly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in the previous session, while a weaker yen and sustained hopes for COVID-19 treatment supported overall sentiment.
The benchmark Nikkei share average ended down 0.03% to 23,290.86, after closing 1.35% firmer on Tuesday. It hit its highest level since Feb. 21 in the last session, as investors cheered signs that researchers might be closer to a treatment for the coronavirus.
The broader Topix dipped 0.05% to 1,624.48.
Nearly one-third of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell, with textiles, real estate and foods leading declines.
A weakening yen helped markets trim losses, with the yen last traded down 0.01% at 106.415 per dollar.
A gainer was heavyweight SoftBank Group, up 3.39%, rising for a second straight session.
While investors are keenly watching Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Thursday for clues on the U.S. central bank’s view on inflation and monetary policy and also waiting for details on the health of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Amid worries about his ability to continue as premier, local media reported that Abe plans to hold a press conference as early as this week about his health after recent visits to a hospital.
Fast-food restaurant group Colowide Co rose 2.73% as the company extended its hostile bid for casual dining chain Ootoya Holdings after failing to secure enough shares by the deadline. Ootoya shares jumped 9.41%.
Recruitment advertiser Recruit Holdings Co fell 1.44% ahead of its results after market hours.
Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Amy Caren Daniel
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