TOKYO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Japanese shares held steady on Friday, after having logged their biggest daily gain in more than a year in the previous session, with SoftBank Group soaring on news that U.S. activist investor Elliott Management has built a stake in the company.
The benchmark Nikkei average eased 0.1% to 23,855.37 by the midday break. It jumped 2.4% on Thursday, its most in 13 months, as China pledged tariff cuts on some U.S. imports, providing some relief to global financial markets jolted by a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.
For the week, the index was still up 2.8% and poised for its best week in eight.
Index-heavy SoftBank Group surged 6.3% after media reports that Elliott Management has amassed a nearly $3 billion stake in the Japanese conglomerate and is pushing for changes in its governance and transparency.
The broader Topix slipped 0.2% to 1,733.32, following a 2.1% leap on Thursday.
All but four of the 33 sector subindexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were in negative territory, with paper and pulp , textiles and air transport leading the losses.
With the earnings season in full swing in Japan, Olympus Corp shot up 11.9% to a record high after the medical equipment maker posted record operating profit for the April-December period and raised its full-year profit guidance.
Although financial markets have found some comfort from China's stimulus measures and move to cut import tariffs on some U.S. goods, investors remain concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and its broader impact on individual companies and the economy.
On Friday, China's Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, reported 69 new deaths, taking the total in the mainland to over 600. It also reported nearly 2,500 new cases, taking the total to over 30,000, according to state television.
Takara Bio Inc jumped 10.9% after the Nikkei newspaper reported the company is set to produce 50 times more of a coronavirus testing reagent at its plant in Dalian in response to an urgent request from the Chinese city. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)