Japan's Nikkei index closes higher on hopes of more economic reopenings

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Tokyo, June 10 - The Nikkei index closed higher on Thursday as shipping firms boosted on the prospects of more economic reopenings and drugmakers were encouraged by reports of government support.

The Nikkei share average dropped to 0.4% higher at 28,958. 56, while the higher Topix was down 0.02% to 1,956. 73.

Signs that more economies are reopening amid a steady vaccine rollout underpinned shipping firms, with Nippon Yusen 1.65% as the biggest gainer on the Nikkei.

Japan wants to finish vaccinating all citizens who have applied for shots by October-November, the Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said during a public debate between the party leaders on Wednesday.

After two days of gains by daily limit, Eisai sank 7.02%. The U.S. regulators approved a drug developed earlier this week for Alzheimer's disease by the firm and Biogen. From week to week, the stock has gained 30% so far.

Rival drugmaker Shionogi rose 3.4% on a local media report that the company plans to mass-produce its own COVID 19 vaccines.

Chugai Pharmaceutical rose 1.04% and Ono Pharmaceutical gained 1.5% on a press release that they may be granted federal subsidies for their research on COVID 19 drugs.

The air transport index of the TSEs fell to a 15-month high before slipping 0.49% as investors locked in profits.

Some people say that their economic rally on reopenings will last only about two weeks. In the past year it has been the case because we were able to contain the COVID 19 only temporarily, said Fumio Matsumoto, chief strategist at Okasan Securities.

But this time, with vaccines, I think their rally could last much longer if they had twists and turns.

Meanwhile, Japanese shop operator Yoshiaki Murakami jumped 20% after the City Index Eleventh, a Japanese investment manager backed by veteran activist Konan Shoji, disclosed that it owns more than 5% of the company's shares.

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