Tokyo stocks close lower on fresh virus surge in capital

TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo stocks closed lower yesterday as market sentiment worsened after the capital’s governor warned of a record number of daily coronavirus infections.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.76 per cent, or 175.14 points, at 22,770.36, while the broader Topix index fell 0.66 per cent, or 10.45 points, to 1,579.06.

“Sentiment was dampened by a surge in coronavirus infections in Tokyo,” Chibagin Asset Management General Manager Yoshihiro Okumura said. “The figure was not enormous but it’s definitely not good news,” Okumura told AFP.

The surge came a day after Koike said Tokyo was on its highest coronavirus alert level, although the move does not mean the city will ask businesses to close or events to be postponed. Earlier in the day, China said its economy expanded 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, but a worse-than-expected drop in retail sales in June suggested consumers are still reticent about spending.

“The growth was better than expected,” but the impact of the Chinese figures was limited, Okumura said.

Among major shares in Tokyo, Toyota lost 0.65 per cent to JPY6,790 and chip-testing equipment maker Advantest dropped 2.65 per cent to JPY6,610.

Murata Manufacturing plunged 2.79 per cent to JPY6,433 after the parts maker said one of its production units temporarily closed after a worker tested positive for the virus.

But Sony gained 0.61 per cent to JPY8,176 with Sharp up 1.44 per cent at JPY1,195.