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Japan's Nikkei closes below 30,000 on profit booking in tech shares

·1 min read

TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares fell on Wednesday,closing below the 30,000 milestone for the first time in sevensessions, as investors booked profits in technology sharesfollowing a decline in the Nasdaq index.

The Nikkei share average slipped 1.61% to 29,671.70,falling below the psychologically important mark hit last week,while the broader Topix fell 1.82% to 1,903.07.

"Unstable moves of the U.S. market overnight has madeinvestors in Japan get worried about the outlook," said KoichiKurose, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management.

"Investors are rotating their targets now because of therollouts of vaccines, which makes the virus-hit sharesattractive."

The Nasdaq fell overnight, becoming the only major U.S.stock index to lose ground while Wall Street reversed itslosses, with the S&P 500 and the Dow reclaiming positiveterritory.

In Japan, index heavyweight SoftBank Group, down5.2%, was the biggest contributor to Nikkei's fall.

Chip-related shares also dragged the index down, with Fanuclosing 4.66%, Tokyo Electron falling 2.74% andShin-Etsu Chemical slipping 4.35%.

Pandemic-driven stocks including department store operatorsgained on hopes for normalization in the economy. IsetanMitsukoshi Holdings, up 5.19%, was the top Nikkeigainer, followed by Takashimaya, which rose 4.94%.J.Front Retailing rose 4.64%.

Regional governments in Japan have requested emergencypandemic measures be lifted ahead of the March 7 scheduled endas new COVID-19 cases trend lower, the country's economyminister said.

Railway and airline shares gained, with Japan Airlinesrising 3.6% and ANA Holdings gaining 2.12%.

Central Japan Railway jumped 1.25% even as theoperator of bullet trains between Tokyo and Osaka flagged biggerlosses for the year ended March. East Japan Railwayrose 1.77%.(Reporting by Junko Fujita;Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)