Nikkei surrenders early gains on suspected Ebola case; health-related stocks soar

lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014 02:18 GYT

By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks turned negative on
Monday after the health ministry announced a suspected case of
the deadly Ebola virus, spooking investors but boosting
health-related shares.
    The Nikkei benchmark fell 0.5 percent to close at
17,729.84 points, wiping out early gains inspired by last week's
strong Wall Street performance.  
    The Nikkei is on track for a yearly rise of almost 9 percent
as the weak yen and aggressive asset buying by the Bank of Japan
have helped offset the country's disappointing economic
    In 2013 it climbed a massive 57 percent on the back of Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's easy-money policies. Tuesday is the final
trading day of 2014 for Japanese markets.
    A man who returned to Japan from Sierra Leone on Dec. 23 was
suspected of contracting Ebola, the Ministry of Health, Labour
and Welfare said. Test results are expected by Tuesday morning.
If confirmed, it would be the first case positive diagnosis in
    Ebola-related shares soared on the news.
    Air filter manufacturer Airtech Japan Ltd jumped
14.5 percent and protective clothing maker Azearth Corp 
climbed 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 the year, gained
0.4 percent.
    The broader Topix fell 0.2 percent to 1,424.67,
while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.3 percent to

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Kim Coghill)