By Stanley White
TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares pulled back on Monday from a near six-week high hit in the previous session, as caution set in before corporate earnings results that are likely to reveal the damage wrought by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Nikkei index .N225 fell 1.02% to 19,694.28 by 0153 GMT, led by declines in the consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors.
Companies linked to consumer spending took a hit as Japanese officials encourage more people to stay at home to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The healthcare sector initially got a boost as companies raced to test medicines to deal with the pandemic, before giving up some of these gains as nervous investors started to lock in profits.
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co 4519.T and electronics maker Omron Corp 6645.T will release their earnings on Thursday, while semiconductor testing equipment maker Advantest Corp 6857.T and industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp 6954.T will post their results on Friday.
Investors will closely examine the results and guidance on future earnings to gauge the health of corporate Japan.
Companies across the globe are struggling with sudden collapse in demand and manufacturing disruptions due to the pandemic.
On the Nikkei index, there were 38 advancers against 179 decliners.
The biggest percentage losers in the index were audio equipment maker Yamaha Corp 7951.T , down 3.66%, followed by drug maker Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd 4568.T , losing 3.36%, and telecom infrastructure provider Comsys Holdings Corp 1721.T , down by 3.07%.
The largest percentage gainers in the index were Taiheiyo Cement Corp 5233.T , up 2.98%, followed by industrial machinery maker IHI Corp 7013.T , gaining 2.95%, and start-up investors and mobile phone operator SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T , up by 2.51%.
The broader Topix index .TOPX fell 0.43% to 1,436.24.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 0.39 billion, compared to the average of 2.02 billion in the past 30 days.
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