Nikkei slips from over 30-year high, but posts gains for 2020

TOKYO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average ended lower on the last trading day of the year, retreating from a more than three-decade high hit in the previous session as investors booked profits, but it logged gains for a second straight year.

The benchmark Nikkei share average fell 0.45% to 27,444.17 on Wednesday, after closing at its highest level since Aug. 16, 1990 in the previous session.

The broader Topix slipped 0.8% to 1,804.68, pulling back from its highest level since October 2018 reached on Tuesday.

On the year, the Nikkei was up 16% compared to an 18.2% gain in 2019. It rose nearly 18.4% in the quarter, marking the biggest quarterly gain since the three months ended March 2013.

The Topix was nearly 4.8% higher in 2020 after climbing more than 15.2% in the previous year.

Japanese financial markets will be closed from Thursday and reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.

“Not a lot of investors would be willing to force themselves to make year-end positions, especially a day after many market players made large purchases,” a market participant said.

Market sentiment was also hit by overnight losses on Wall Street as doubts re-emerged about whether the U.S. Senate would authorise additional pandemic aid cheques.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed vote on President Donald Trump’s call to increase pandemic relief payments to $2,000.

All but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower.

The top underperformers among the Topix 30 were Honda Motor and Shin-Etsu Chemical, losing 1.78% and 1.66%, respectively.

Seiko Epson Corp, Mitsui E&S Holdings and Sapporo Holdings were the biggest percentage losers in the index, down between 3.26% and 3.89%.

Renewable energy developer Renova rose 4.9% to reach its record high, benefiting from investors’ growing expectations for clean energy.

The Mothers Index of start-up firms added 0.37%, ending with the biggest yearly gain since 2013. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu and Tokyo markets team; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)