Roundup: Tokyo stocks close lower amid concerns over domestic, overseas virus cases

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TOKYO, July 10 (Xinhua) — Tokyo stocks closed lower Friday as investor sentiment was dented as daily coronavirus cases in Tokyo increased to a new record high for a second straight day amid broader fears about rising cases overseas further hampering the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 238.48 points, or 1.06 percent, from Thursday to close the day at 22,290.81.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, dropped 22.04 points, or 1.42 percent, to finish at 1,535.20.

Tokyo stocks came under pressure from early trade as coronavirus cases in the United States rising to a new daily record high surpassing 60,000 new infections on Thursday dented investor sentiment.

Local brokers said that concerns over virus-induced lockdowns in the United States further hampering the global economic recovery from the pandemic, saw investors switch out of riskier assets like stocks and into safe havens like the Japanese yen, which pushed its value up versus the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. dollar dropped to a two-week low below the 107 yen line, with a firmer yen hurting the key export sector here, local traders said.

The dollar was quoted at 106.84-85 yen at 5:00 p.m. local time, compared with 107.16-26 yen in New York and 107.24-25 yen at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday in Tokyo.

Investor consternation increased in later trade following the Tokyo metropolitan government announcing a record-high number of new daily COVID-19 cases in the capital at 243, marking the second straight day when cases have surged above the 200-mark, market strategists here said.

“The rising infection cases increased fears among investors about a possible return to some form of business or travel restrictions, a situation that could derail a future economic recovery,” Makoto Sengoku, a market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

By the close of play, mining, securities house and real estate-oriented issues comprised those that declined the most.

Issues hurt by the yen’s strength included exporters, typically reliant on a weaker yen to boost overseas profits when repatriated.

Among automakers, Honda Motor skidded down 3.0 percent, while Mazda Motor lost 2.5 percent. Toyota Motor, meanwhile, decelerated 2.1 percent.

Energy-linked issues lost ground on concerns over rising coronavirus cases in some major economies impacting global demand, and Nittetsu Mining fell 2.1 percent, Sumiseki Holdings dropped 4.1 percent, while exploration giant Inpex tumbled 4.8 percent.

Heavily weighted Fast Retailing Co. losing ground contributed to the broader Nikkei’s decline, with the operator of the Uniqlo chain of casual clothing stores dropping 3.3 percent, after cutting its net profit outlook for the year through August due to pandemic-linked store closures.

Bucking the downward trend, Sony Corp. added 2.7 percent, following media reports it has agreed to invest 250 million U.S. dollars to acquire a stake in the Epic Games Inc., creator of the popular game “Fortnite.”

Supported by U.S. tech-linked issues gaining ground overnight, SoftBank Group Corp., another Nikkei heavyweight, gained 1.6 percent, while Casio Computer Co., closed the day 2.7 percent higher.

Issues that declined trounced those that rose by 1,935 to 193 on the First Section, while 43 ended the day unchanged.

On the main section on Friday, 1.337 billion shares changed hands, rising from Thursday’s volume of 1.175 billion shares.

The turnover on the final trading day of the week came to 2.458 trillion yen (23.020 billon U.S. dollars). Enditem

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