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Tokyo stocks snap 3-day winning streak as investors lock in gains

Tokyo Stock Exchange (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks retreated Tuesday, snapping a three-day winning streak, as a stronger yen and plunge in Japan's household spending amid the coronavirus pandemic prompted investors to lock in gains.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 99.75 points, or 0.44 percent, from Monday at 22,614.69. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 5.44 points, or 0.34 percent, lower at 1,571.71.

    Decliners were led by pharmaceutical, land transportation, and electric power and gas issues.

    The U.S. dollar sagged overnight against other major currencies and remained under pressure during the day as COVID-19 infections continue to grow around the world, denting hopes for a gradual economic recovery.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 107.63-64 yen compared with 107.34-44 yen in New York and 107.59-60 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1285-1286 and 121.46-50 yen against $1.1304-1314 and 121.40-50 yen in New York and $1.1297-1298 and 121.55-59 yen in Tokyo late Monday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell 0.005 percentage point from Monday's close to 0.035 percent as investors bought the safe-haven debt on concerns about the virus spread as well as on falling Tokyo stocks, dealers said. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

    Data showed in the morning that Japan's household spending for May marked the sharpest fall in 19 years as the pandemic led people to stay at home and dampened consumption.

    Shares were sluggish throughout the day with the Nikkei briefly shedding over 150 points. The benchmark had gained nearly 600 points, or 2.7 percent, in the past three trading days and closed at a one-month high on Monday.

    "Sell orders came in when the Nikkei topped 22,500 and investors' profit-taking capped shares' upside," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., adding investors remained cautious about economic situations in Japan.

    But declines were limited and both the Nikkei and Topix saw the pace of slide slow toward the end of the day's trading.

    The market's downside was well supported by expectations of an economic rebound in China and resurgent U.S. services industry activity in June that pushed up Wall Street overnight, said Chihiro Ota, general manager of investment research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,281 to 805, while 84 ended unchanged.

    Pharmaceuticals fell following their recent gains amid efforts to develop drugs to fight the virus.

    Astellas Pharma dropped 39.50 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 1,738.50 yen, while Eisai declined 121 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 8,494 yen.

    Department store operator Takashimaya slid 23 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 848 yen after saying Monday it incurred a net loss in the March to May quarter with sales nearly halved from a year earlier as people refrained from spending in stores and on duty-free items amid the pandemic.

    Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,093.60 million shares from Monday's 1,025.39 million shares.

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