April 28, 2020 / 3:42 AM / a month ago

Nikkei retreats as investors lock in gains ahead of holiday

SYDNEY, April 28 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks slipped on Tuesday as investors booked profits after a sharp gain in the previous session, though a raft of solid corporate earnings and strong forecasts helped cap losses.

The benchmark Nikkei average was down 0.6% at 19,661.05 by midday break, a day after the index posted gains of 2.7% and ahead of the Showa Day holiday on Wednesday.

The Nikkei volatility index, considered a fear gauge based on option pricing, dropped as much as 11.3% to a 1-1/2-month low of 30.9, reflecting a drop in market anxiety.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4% in Asian trade also created an extra headwind to Japanese shares.

Losses, however, were limited after companies reported better-than-expected earnings or forecasts.

Ibiden Co Ltd soared 15.1% after the electronic components maker forecast a 37.2% increase in operating profit for the current business year through March 2021.

Renesas Electronics Corp jumped 7.7% after the maker of semiconductors for cars recorded a net profit of 11.3 billion yen ($105 million) for the January-March quarter - a positive surprise for many analysts.

The broader Topix retreated 0.5% to 1,439.59 by the midday recess, with all but six of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading lower.

Highly cyclical iron and steel, mining and non-ferrous metals were the three worst-performing sector sub-indexes on the main bourse.

Elsewhere, Miraca Holdings Inc jumped 9% after the diagnostics and laboratory testing service provider’s subsidiary Fujirebio applied for government approval for Japan’s first antigen coronavirus testing kits.

Shionogi & Co Ltd climbed 3.3% after the drug maker announced a plan to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, with an aim to begin clinical trials later this year.

$1 = 107.2800 yen Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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