TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares wobbled on Thursday as a sharp jump in the death toll from the coronavirus triggered concerns that the epidemic could get worse before it is brought under control.
The death toll in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the flu-like virus outbreak, rose by 242 to 1,310 as of Wednesday. A record 14,840 cases were reported in Hubei on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier, under a new method for diagnosing cases. safe-haven yen JPY=EBS firmed against the dollar, pulling back from the three-week low of 110.15 yen hit on Wednesday and weighed on export-related stocks.
Tokyo-listed shares were weighed down by worries of supply chain disruptions from the virus outbreak in China.
A bright spot was Taiko Pharmaceutical 4754.T , which soared 6.8% to a record high on increasing demand for the drugmaker's virus-removal and infection-control products.
Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp (SBG) 9984.T retreated 5.1%, after a 11.9% surge on Wednesday in response to a U.S. federal judge's approval of a takeover of its unit Sprint S.N by T-Mobile TMUS.O .
The tech conglomerate's third-quarter operating profit fell 99%, pulled down by losses at the $100 billion Vision Fund, but its founder and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son said the company's performance was already improving. investors who are critical to SBG's plans for a second massive tech investment fund are refusing to take part unless the first Vision Fund can turn around its performance, Reuters reported on Thursday citing sources. the broader weakness, chip-related stocks continued to attract buying.
Semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd 8035.T climbed 2.1% to an all-time high as the world's largest chip gear maker Applied Materials Inc AMAT.O forecast better-than-expected revenue and profit for the second quarter. Shokai Ltd 8011.T gained 3.4% after U.S. activist investor RMB Capital said the Chicago-based firm requested the Japanese clothing company to seek a strategic buyer.
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