Japan shares rally as reopening hopes boosts travel, real estate firms

TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced on Wednesday as the hospitality sector gained after accelerating vaccinations boosted economic reopening hopes, while shares of carmakers scaled new highs due to stronger global demand.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.46% to 28,946.84, while the broader Topix gained 0.85% to 1,942.50.

While Japan last week extended its social restriction measures to later this month, investors are looking beyond, with signs of pickup in vaccination fuelling their bets on economic reopening.

“Daily vaccination counts are now hitting about 500,000, so we can hope that by mid-July, we could reach a level where new infections should fall because enough number of people will have been vaccinated,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, market strategist at Mizuho Securities.

Railway companies were among the best performers, with West Japan Railway jumping 5.0% and East Japan Railway soaring 3.9%.

Airliner ANA Holdings gained 2.9%, while rival Japan Airlines followed close with rise of 2.6%.

The real estate sector was another strong performer, with Sumitomo Realty & Development adding 4.0% while Mitsui Fudosan rose 3.9%.

Real estate investments trusts (REITs) were also in demand, with their index — TSE REIT Index — rising 1.1% to come within their 14-month intraday peak hit about a month ago.

Automakers shone, as carmakers globally benefit from demand recovery and from hopes that the worst of chip shortage may be over soon.

Honda Motor rallied 4.2% to hit a three-year high, while Toyota Motor extended its uptrend to scale a record high.

On the other hand, investors also rotated out of shares that had benefited from windfalls following the pandemic.

Furniture store operator Nitori Holdings lost 3.3% to one-year low while medical equipment maker Sysmex shed 3.0%.

Drugmakers also came under pressure, with Daiichi Sankyo dropping 1.4% to a 13-month low and Ono Pharmaceutical down 1.0% at a 14-month low. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano)