• Jiji


Tokyo stocks turned lower Thursday after advancing for four sessions in a row, reflecting a drop in U.S. stock futures and concerns over U.S.-China tensions concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange shed 42.84 points, or 0.21 percent, to end at 20,552.31. On Wednesday, the key index climbed 161.70 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 3.48 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,491.21, after climbing 8.64 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market opened higher in response to rises in all three major U.S. stock price gauges on Wednesday amid moves to reopen businesses spreading across the United States following coronavirus lockdowns, brokers said.

But stocks surrendered their gains toward noon as selling pressure grew in line with a drop in futures in off-hours trading on the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average.

The market was also weighed on by heightened fears about tensions between the United States and China over the way Beijing dealt with the coronavirus outbreak in the initial stage, after U.S. President Donald Trump blamed China for waging a “massive disinformation campaign” in his latest Twitter post.

In the afternoon, the market searched for direction amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., pointed out that behind Dow futures’ fall was a U.S. university’s latest national poll showing Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s expanded lead over Trump in the presidential race.

Miura also said selling took the upper hand as investors were “moderately disappointed” by a Japanese government advisory panel’s judgment Thursday that the state of emergency for the pandemic should remain in place in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, but not in three major western prefectures including Osaka.

On the first section, falling issues slightly outnumbered rising ones 1,058 to 1,005 while 108 issues were unchanged. Volume fell to 1.148 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.214 billion shares.

Marudai Food plunged 6.35 percent due to the firm’s failure to achieve its operating profit target for the year ended in March.

Precision equipment maker Shimadzu sank 1.67 percent after announcing weaker-than-expected operating profit for the same year.

On the other hand, oil names including JXTG and Cosmo Energy were boosted by a rise in crude oil prices.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 70 points to end at 20,620.

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