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Japanese shares slip from 30-yr high as investors book profits

TOKYO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares slipped on Wednesday as investors booked profits after a recent rally drove them to a 30-year high, even as pandemic-beaten shares gained on expectations for an economic recovery from a coronavirus-driven slump.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.87% to 30,202.71 from Tuesday’s high of 30,714.52, a peak since August 1990.

The broader Topix lost 0.41% to 1,957.21, a day after scaling its highest since June 1991.

“Investors are selling stocks for profit booking today. The market is taking a pause from a rising momentum,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“Shares that were beaten down amid the pandemic are being bought as rising interest rates in the U.S. and Japan indicates an economic recovery. Rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines in Japan is another positive factor.”

Chip and electronics shares are leading losses in Nikkei, with TDK down 3.7%, Yaskawa Electric losing 3.8% and Tokyo Electron shedding 3.1%.

The declines followed a drop overnight in U.S. technology stocks.

Bridgestone tumbled 4.9% after the company posted its first annual net loss in 69 years due to impairment and restructuring costs, following the pandemic.

Shares whose valuations had shot up after a recent rally also took a hit, with M3 falling 3.6% and Keyence dropping 2.4%.

On the other hand, travel- and leisure-related shares did well after Japan launched its COVID-19 inoculation drive on Wednesday.

ANA Holdings gained 3.5% while Central Japan Railway rose 1.9% and West Japan Railway added 1.3%.

Oriental Land, the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, rose 1.8%.

Rise in U.S. bond yields boosted financials, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings up 1.3% and Mizuho Financial gaining 0.8%.

The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries hit its highest since February 2020. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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