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Nikkei off 29-1/2-year high as coronavirus fears sap sentiment

TOKYO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average retreated slightly from a near 29-1/2-year high on Friday, tracking Wall Street lower, as investor sentiment was knocked by concerns around resurging new cases of the novel coronavirus both at home and abroad.

The benchmark Nikkei share average dropped 1.08% to 25,245.92 by the midday break, having hit its highest level since June 5, 1991 in the previous session.

The Nikkei is also set to snap an eight-day winning streak, but, it is still on course for a near 4% weekly gain, largely thanks to the economic-recovery optimism fuelled by a promising vaccine trial data.

The broader Topix lost 1.67% to 1,697.43. All 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed sharply lower overnight as daily U.S. COVID-19 infections surged above 100,000 for an eighth consecutive day, and investors weighed the timeline for the mass rollout of an effective virus vaccine.

Japan reported a record high of 1,634 new cases on Thursday, a Japanese broadcaster said.

Airlines dropped nearly 4%, as investors worried that another spike in virus cases could lead to renewed restrictions.

ANA Holdings slipped more than 5% and Japan Airlines lost 2.4%.

Land transport also took a hit, with railroad companies such as Kintetsu Group Holdings, Sotetsu Holdings and Central Japan Railway Co down between 4.4% and 6.5%.

Rakuten fell more than 2.6% after it posted an operating loss of 60.52 billion yen for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

Nissan Motor climbed as much as 8% in early trade after cutting its annual operating loss forecast by 28% on Thursday. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu)