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Tokyo stocks fall on concerns over coronavirus resurgence

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks fell Wednesday as investors were cautious about a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Japan and overseas as well as an overheating market after the Nikkei index topped the 26,000 mark for the first time in over 29 years.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 286.48 points, or 1.10 percent, from Tuesday at 25,728.14. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 14.01 points, or 0.81 percent, lower at 1,720.65.

    Decliners were led by nonferrous metal, air transportation and marine transportation issues.

    The U.S. dollar dropped below the 104 yen line as traders grew risk averse over rising coronavirus cases across the world.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 103.88-89 yen compared with 104.13-23 yen in New York and 104.47-48 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1882-1883 and 123.43-47 yen against $1.1855-1865 and 123.55-65 yen in New York and $1.1845-1847 and 123.75-79 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell 0.005 percentage point from Tuesday's close to 0.015 percent as investors bought the safe-haven debt on growing concerns over the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

    Tokyo reported record daily coronavirus cases of 493 on Wednesday, with metropolitan government sources saying the capital is considering raising its virus alert to the highest level. The previous high was 472 on Aug. 1.

    The stock market took a breather following gains in the Nikkei of more than 13 percent earlier in the month.

    "Profit-taking dominated the market," with investors taking a cue from the pandemic situation, said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.

    Still, many brokers expect that selling pressure in the Tokyo market will be short-lived and not change the recent upward trend.

    "The fall was a healthy correction and it is expected to continue for the next week or two," said Kazuo Kamitani, senior associate in the investment research and investor services department of Nomura Securities Co.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,445 to 646, with 85 ending unchanged.

    Air and marine transportation issues were sold following their recent gains.

    Japan Airlines declined 34 yen, or 1.7 percent, to 1,976 yen and ANA Holdings shed 82.50 yen, or 3.1 percent, to 2,569.00 yen. Kawasaki Kisen slid 16 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 1,533 yen and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines sank 42 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 2,612 yen.

    Automakers were out of favor partly due to the yen's firmness. Toyota Motor fell 120 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 7,319 yen and Subaru went down 23.50 yen, or 1.1 percent, to 2,195.00 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section fell to 1,187.06 million shares from Tuesday's 1,373.44 million shares.

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