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Tokyo stocks end mixed as coronavirus fears offset tech issue gains

This Oct. 1, 2020 file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended mixed in choppy trading Monday as gains in technology issues were offset by concerns about a further spread of coronavirus infections in Japan.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 2.00 points, or 0.01 percent, from Friday at 29,685.37. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 4.31 points, or 0.22 percent, lower at 1,956.56.

    Gainers included electric appliance and marine transportation issues, while air and land transportation issues led decliners.

    The U.S. dollar briefly sank to the mid-108 yen range as traders sought the perceived safe-haven yen after a joint Japan-U.S. summit statement explicitly mentioned Taiwan for the first time in more than five decades.

    The move raised worries about the two countries' relations with Beijing, dealers said, as China expressed "strong concern and firm opposition" to the statement, which was released after a meeting Friday between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden.

    Shares lacked a clear direction throughout the day, with the topside capped by a further spread of coronavirus infections in Osaka, Tokyo and other areas, deepening concerns over the country's economic normalization.

    In response to the resurgence of novel coronavirus cases, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura indicated Monday he will ask the central government to declare another state of emergency in the western Japanese prefecture.

    Sentiment was also relatively weak as some companies with strong ties with China were dragged down on fears over possible steps taken by the country that could negatively affect their business.

    "Worries that China may take retaliatory measures in the near future capped gains," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

    Among issues with large exposure to the Chinese market, Fast Retailing, the operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, dropped 890 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 89,340 yen, and Ryohin Keikaku, known for its Muji brand stores, slid 117 yen, or 4.8 percent, to 2,301 yen.

    But the decline in the overall market was limited on rises in technology issues after the Japanese and U.S. leaders also agreed to step up cooperation to create a secure supply chain for semiconductors amid a global chip shortage.

    Chip-related Tokyo Electron advanced 930 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 50,050 yen, and Advantest rose 110 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 10,640 yen.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,094 to 1,000, while 96 ended unchanged.

    Railway operators and airlines were hit amid the continuing increase in coronavirus cases in Japan. East Japan Railway shed 158 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 7,412 yen, and Japan Airlines sank 83 yen, or 3.6 percent, to 2,203 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section rose slightly to 918.23 million shares from Friday's 909.15 million shares.

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