Nikkei erases early gains as profit-taking offsets upbeat earnings

TOKYO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Japanese shares slipped on Friday, giving up early gains, as a boost from technology companies reporting upbeat earnings was overshadowed by investors’ profit-taking and rebalancing at the end of month.

Still, the market is on course to post its third straight month of gains, with the Nikkei still hovering below a 30-year high touched earlier in the month.

Japan’s Nikkei share average slipped 0.18% to 28,145.63 by midday, after gaining 0.44% earlier in the session. The broader Topix was down 0.07% at 1,837.60.

“It appears pension funds are reducing their positions as they change their allocation at the end of month,” said a trader at a Japanese brokerage.

That also hit some chip-related shares which had benefited from strong earnings reports.

Advantest eased 0.4%, erasing earlier gains of 5.1% after the company raised its profit forecast for the year ending in March, citing strong demand for its chip-testing machines.

Tokyo Electron slipped 2.7%, reversing gains of 2.4% after the chip manufacturing machine maker hiked its annual guidance for a second time in the current financial year.

Canon fell 5.4%, after gaining about 50% this month as the maker of camera and printer announced a solid earnings growth in the last quarter as expected.

However, some other companies managed to maintain their share gains after reporting strong results. Among tech stocks, Fujitsu gained 3.8% and Shinko Electric rose 8.9%.

Nomura Real Estate rose 5.7% and Oriental Land gained 2.4% following quarterly results which showed a stronger-than-expected recovery of the Tokyo Disney Resort.

JCR Pharma extended its gains to its third day, rising 20.4%, as its upbeat earnings announced on Thursday added to the bullish mood spurred by the news that AstraZeneca will license the firm to produce some 90 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine . (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)