Roundup: Tokyo stocks close lower on concerns over Europe's rising COVID-19 cases

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TOKYO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks closed lower Friday amid concerns over the impact of rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and an ongoing stalemate in the United States over a coronavirus package for the hard-hit economy.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 96.60 points, or 0.41 percent, from Thursday to close the day at 23,410.63.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, lost 14.10 points, or 0.86 percent, to finish at 1,617.69.

Investor sentiment was dented from the get-go as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases hit some major areas in Europe including Britain, France and Spain who each imposed new restrictions to try and curb the spread.

Britain unleashed a volley of new targeted restrictions that included the capital, while France imposed curfews in the evenings to try and combat the spread.

Local brokers said that ahead of winter and the influenza season, concerns were rife that infections could intensify around major economies in Europe forcing wide-reaching lockdowns, which stifled economic activity as was seen earlier in the year.

"The infection situation in Europe weighed on the market," Koichi Fujishiro, senior economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

An ongoing stalemate between Congress in the United States and the White House over a coronavirus stimulus package to help the virus-battered economy also weighed on the market mood, local strategists said, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying earlier in the week that he doubted an economic relief package would be enacted before the Nov. 3, the U.S. presidential election.

By the close of play, land transportation, mining and real estate-linked issues comprised those that declined the most.

Some office automation equipment related to Britain lost ground owing to the new raft of COVID-19 restrictions, with Canon losing 0.6 percent, while Sony lost 2.0 percent. Konica Minolta, meanwhile, ended the day 3.0 percent lower.

Owner and operator of the Uniqlo chain of casual stores, Fast Retailing, helped underpin the market, however, after announcing a day earlier it expected to post a record net profit this fiscal year.

The Nikkei heavyweight ended the day 4.3 percent higher, helping to buoy the market's downside.

Fujifilm Holdings was another notable winner, climbing 2.5 percent, after reporting it had applied for approval in Japan of its anti-influenza drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.

Issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,632 to 469 on the First Section, while 77 ended the day unchanged.

On the main section on Friday, 917.58 million shares changed hands, rising from Thursday's volume of 888.31 million shares.

The turnover on the final trading day of the week came to 1.858 trillion yen (17.658 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem

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