Japanese shares edge down as rising COVID-19 cases cast doubt on economic rebound

  • Reuters
Japanese shares edge down as rising COVID-19 cases cast doubt on economic rebound

TOKYO, April 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares edged lower on Wednesday, dragged down by materials stocks, as mounting new COVID-19 cases have cast doubt over an economic rebound, while concerns over falling rates pushed shares of banks and insurers lower.

The Nikkei share average .N225 inched down 0.28% to 29,668.74 by 0202 GMT, while the broader Topix .TOPX slipped 0.23% to 1,953.80.

"The expectations for the reopening of the economy shrank because rollouts of vaccines in Japan is much slower than other countries, while the number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise," said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

"The interest rates could fall if the economy slows down. That has sent bank and insurer shares lower today."

Japan's western region of Osaka on Tuesday reported a record 1,099 new cases of coronavirus infections as a highly contagious variant is driving a fourth wave. market sentiment was also hit by the overnight fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI amid the news on a pause in Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ )'s JNJ.N COVID-19 vaccine rollout. .ITXTL.T and papers .IPAPR.T led declines on the main bourse, with clothing materials maker Toray Industries 3402.T falling 3.71%, making it the biggest loser on the Nikkei.

Insurers fell, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings 8750.T down 2.1%, T&D Holdings 8795.T losing 3.53% and Sompo Holdings 8630.T 0.8%.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T fell 0.75% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group 8316.T lost 0.88.

Toshiba 6502.T surged 6.86% amid reports of more plans of bids for the conglomerate and expectations that its embattled chief executive would soon resign. were 57 advancers on the Nikkei index against 165 decliners.

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