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Tokyo stocks end lower on economic recovery fears, COVID-19 surge

This file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended lower Monday for the fourth consecutive trading day as fears of a sluggish economic recovery in the United States and a rapid surge of COVID-19 infections in the Japanese capital dampened market sentiment.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 350.34 points, or 1.25 percent, from Friday at 27,652.74. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 25.06 points, or 1.30 percent, lower at 1,907.13.

    Every industry category lost ground except for pharmaceuticals. Major decliners were led by air transportation, iron and steel, and electric appliance issues.

    The U.S. dollar inched down into the upper 109 yen range as the currency was sold on speculation that declining U.S. Treasury yields will narrow the interest rate gap between the United States and Japan, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 109.84-86 yen compared with 110.03-13 yen in New York and 110.16-17 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1779-1780 and 129.38-42 yen against $1.1800-1810 and 129.87-97 yen in New York and $1.1801-1803 and 130.00-04 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from Friday's close at 0.015 percent.

    Stocks lost ground in tandem with other Asian markets, extending losses for the fourth straight trading day amid renewed fears of a rise in infections linked to the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.

    "The market is expected to remain volatile for the rest of the week, with investors reluctant to secure positions ahead of Japan's four-day weekend to avoid potential risks in global markets," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

    The increase in COVID-19 infections in Tokyo has injured sentiment, with fears growing as market participants watch countries with high vaccination rates struggling to contain the virus, he added.

    Tokyo has been experiencing a sharp rebound in coronavirus cases with 1,008 new infections reported Sunday, topping 1,000 for the fifth straight day as fears rise that the capital is being hit by a fifth wave of the virus.

    Meanwhile, stocks were pressured by Wall Street falls late last week after a U.S. consumer sentiment index for early July, released Friday by the University of Michigan, unexpectedly declined from June on fears of accelerating inflation, brokers said.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,912 to 217, while 63 ended unchanged.

    Chip-related shares slumped following losses among U.S. counterparts Friday, with Advantest falling 130 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 9,160 yen, Taiyo Yuden sliding 200 yen, or 3.6 percent, to 5,310 yen and Tokyo Electron dropping 950 yen, or 2.1 percent, to 44,550 yen.

    Air transportation issues were the biggest decliners as they took a hit from fears of a continuous rise in coronavirus infections, with Japan Airlines slipping 68 yen, or 2.9 percent, to 2,313 yen and ANA Holdings down 71.5 yen, or 2.7 percent, at 2,538.5 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section rose to 951.63 million shares from Friday's 935.58 million shares.

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