Nikkei turns negative on suspected Ebola case, but health-related shares soar

lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014 00:56 GYT
 

* Nikkei reverses morning gains
    * Ebola-related shares boosted on suspected Ebola case
    * Test results expected by Tuesday morning

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei gave up early gains
on Monday after the health ministry announced a suspected case
of the deadly Ebola virus, dampening investor risk appetite but
boosting health-related shares.
    The benchmark index was down 0.8 percent at
17,672.97 points by 0431 GMT, after advancing 0.4 percent in
morning trade. It briefly fell as far as much as 1.6 percent.
    A man in his thirties who returned from Sierra Leone on Dec.
23 was suspected on contracting the disease, the Ministry of
Health, Labour and Welfare said. Test results are expected by
Tuesday morning. If confirmed, it would be the first case of the
Ebola virus in Japan.
    "The Nikkei was heading towards 18,000, but the Ebola news
has pushed investors to a risk-off position," said Masayuki
Doshida, senior market analysts at Rakuten Securities. 
    "For now, everyone is waiting for the results to come in."
    Ebola-related shares jumped, with air filter manufacturer
Airtech Japan Ltd soaring 14.5 percent and protective
clothing maker Azearth Corp climbing 16.0 percent.
    Fujifilm Holdings Corp, which said in November it
expected its influenza drug Avigan to be approved to treat Ebola
as soon as the end of 2014, gained as much as 2.3 percent.
    The Nikkei had gained in early trade after a strong Wall
Street performance last week boosted appetite for riskier assets
and buoyed investors' confidence in the outlook for equities in
2015. 
    In a holiday-shortened Christmas week, both the Dow 
and the S&P 500 closed at record highs in a broad rally.
Recent gains have come on the back of promising economic data
that has lifted expectations of sustainable growth in the
world's largest economy.
    The broader Topix and JPX-Nikkei Index 400
 also surrendered earlier gains. The Topix shed 0.5
percent to 1,420.56, while the JPX-400 lost 0.6 percent to
12,880.60. 

($1 = 120.4900 yen)

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Kim Coghill)