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Japan shares retreat as COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. stimulus hopes wane

TOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares retreated on Wednesday, following Wall Street’s fall overnight as stalled COVID-19 vaccine trials and lack of agreement on additional U.S. fiscal stimulus weighed on market sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei share average eased 0.05% to 23,589.35 by the midday break, while the broader Topix lost 0.51% to 1,640.69.

All but five of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower, with airlines, iron and steel and miners leading the decline on the main bourse.

On Tuesday, major indexes on Wall Street ended lower as Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly and Co halted coronavirus vaccine trials over safety concerns, dampening investor sentiment.

Fading hopes for a new U.S. coronavirus relief package were also weighing on the market, as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief proposal from the White House.

Back home, Apple-related issues underperformed on profit-taking and dented by a 2.7% fall in Apple Inc shares following an event where the company unveiled its latest iPhone.

Both TDK Corp and Taiyo Yuden fell about 0.9%, and Murata Manufacturing Corp lost 0.63%.

Financial shares also took a hit from a weak performance in their U.S. peers, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group down about 1.7% each, while Mizuho Financial Group slipped 2.67%.

ANA Holdings dipped 3.58% after reports that the company was going to cut monthly wages for all workers by 5%.

Nippon Steel lost 3.04% on news that the company would sell two U.S. plants as it speeds up a reorganisation in overseas operations.

Elsewhere, the Mothers Index of start-up firms gained 1.19%. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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