Roundup: Tokyo stocks closed moderately lower on yen's rise, spike in COVID-19 cases

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TOKYO, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks closed marginally lower Wednesday as the yen's rise against the U.S. dollar dented sentiment and investors were spooked by a spike in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, although losses were capped by U.S. shares' overnight advance providing some buying impetus.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 14.73 points, or 0.07 percent, from Tuesday to close the day at 22,534.32.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, lost 6.64 points, or 0.42 percent, to finish at 1,580.50.

Investors inherited another positive lead from Wall Street overnight, as technology-oriented issues continued to track higher, local brokers said, with the Nasdaq Composite hitting a fresh record high and sentiment underscored by hopes for new economic stimulus measures.

In addition, better-than-expected U.S. economic data saw the dollar firm against the Japanese yen, which weighed on exporters here reliant on a weaker yen to boost overseas profits when repatriated, market strategists said.

Along with the strength of the yen, which can have a bearing on the broader market, some investors hit the sidelines to await fresh cues, such as corporate earnings and outlooks.

"Investors are awaiting fresh leads such as corporate earnings results for the April-June period," Makoto Sengoku, a market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

A rise in coronavirus cases in Tokyo also spooked some investors, brokers said, with the the Tokyo metropolitan government saying that 55 new coronavirus infections in the capital had been confirmed Wednesday, marking the highest number of new daily cases since May 5.

"Pandemic-related worries could weigh down markets in the short term," said Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

"People who are sensitive to coronavirus will probably refrain from going outside, in which case would damage restaurant and service businesses," said Ishiguro.

Shipping issues lost ground as investors took profits following the sector's rise the previous day, with Kawasaki Kisen sinking 2.9 percent, while Nippon Yusen ended down 2.2 percent.

Materials and electronics company Taiyo Yuden added 1.2 percent, while silicon wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical edged up 0.2 percent by the close.

SoftBank Group Corp. lost 1.8 percent, after announcing hefty share selloff of its stock in T-Mobile U.S. Inc., as part of the conglomerate's plans to raise funds and buyback shares in a bid to reduce debt.

By the close of play, marine transportation and food issues led notable decliners, while rubber product and precision instrument issues comprised those that gained the most.

Issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,522 to 576 on the First section, while 69 ended the day unchanged.

On the main section on Wednesday, 1.169 billion shares changed hands, dropping from Tuesday's volume of 1.192 billion shares.

The turnover on the third trading day of the week came to 2.033 trillion yen (19.09 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem

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