Business / Financial Markets

Nikkei climbs slightly to 22,145, tempered by infection surge in Tokyo

Jiji

Tokyo stocks rebounded modestly on Thursday, although their upside was capped by growing coronavirus fears amid a rise in infections in the capital.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 24.23 points, or 0.11 percent, to end at 22,145.96, after dropping 166.41 points on Wednesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues was up 4.15 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,542.76, after losing 20.16 points the previous day.

The Nikkei moved in positive territory for most of the morning session, partly thanks to the U.S. tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index’s rise to a new record the previous day.

But the TSE’s key market gauge cut early gains and temporarily sank into negative territory in the afternoon, with investor sentiment dampened by media reports that over 100 coronavirus cases were found in Tokyo on Thursday for the first time in two months, brokers said.

The Nikkei, as well as the Topix, managed to finish higher, however, supported by rises in Shanghai and Hong Kong equities, they said.

“Stocks moved on a weak note overall, with the number of coronavirus cases rising” in and outside Japan, said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc.

“Ahead of the U.S. government’s jobs report for June (which was due later Thursday) and a U.S. holiday on Friday, investors found it inadvisable to trade actively,” Fujii added.

Another brokerage official said some market players are concerned that restrictions on business activities may be reimposed after Sunday’s gubernatorial election in Tokyo, associating the current situation with when such restrictions were reinforced following the decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,343 to 753 in the TSE’s first section, while 73 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1.357 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.184 billion shares.

Financials such as mega-bank group Mitsubishi UFJ and insurer Tokio Marine attracted purchases thanks to a rise in U.S. long-term interest rates.

NEC rose after Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. revised up its target price for the electronics company.

Among other winners were technology investor SoftBank Group and automaker Toyota.

On the other hand, restaurant chain Kushikatsu Tanaka met with selling after revising down its earnings forecast for the six months to May 2020.

Department store operator Takashimaya extended its losing streak to a sixth session.

Also on the negative side were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and drugmaker Eisai.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average rose 90 points to end at 22,180.

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