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Japan stocks stumble as return to coronavirus lockdowns looms

Published 20-04-2021, 11:52 am

By Junko Fujita and Stanley White

TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares fell on Tuesday by their most in a month, weighed down by worries that possible reintroduction of COVID-19 lockdowns in the country's biggest cities would slow the economic recovery.

Selling was seen across almost all sectors, with only one of the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sub-indexes closing higher and just 16 stocks up on the benchmark Nikkei share average .N225 .

The Nikkei settled down 1.97% at 29,100.38, its worst since March 24, while the broader Topix .TOPX dropped 1.55% to 1,926.25 in its biggest slide in four weeks.

"It's just like the decline is bringing another sell-off today," said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

"There is a concern about virus resurgence not only in Japan but also in other countries. Investors are becoming cautious about an economic reopening, particularly since many Japanese companies are sensitive to the global economy."

Tokyo and Osaka may slide back into states of emergency due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Japan this month put these prefectures as well as others under "quasi-states of emergency" but those measures have done little to reverse the trend so far. heavyweights Fast Retailing 9983.T , known for its Uniqlo clothing brand, fell 2.17%, while SoftBank Group 9984.T lost 1.84%.

Semiconductor-related stocks tracked their U.S. peers .SOX lower, with Tokyo Electron 8035.T falling 2.3%, Advantest 6857.T dropping 3.2% and Murata Manufacturing 6981.T losing 1.58%.

The top percentage losers on the Nikkei index were Marui Group Co Ltd 8252.T , down 5.82%, followed by Dentsu Group Inc 4324.T , losing 4.46%, and Daikin Industries Ltd 6367.T , down by 4.28%.

The biggest percentage gainers in the index were Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd 9107.T , up 2.19%, followed by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd 9104.T , gaining 1.66%, and Oji Holdings Corp 3861.T , up by 1.4%.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 1.09 billion, compared with the average of 1.29 billion in the past 30 days.

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