Tokyo stocks close lower as virus cases surge

Shanghai markets
Shanghai markets
owngarden/getty

Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday after the Japanese capital logged a record daily number of coronavirus cases.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.10% or 286.48 points to end at 25 728.14, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.81% or 14.01 points to 1 720.65.

Tokyo recorded 493 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday - the city's highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

Infections are gradually increasing across Japan, and on Tuesday the northern Hokkaido region asked people in its capital city to avoid non-essential outings if infection prevention measures cannot be taken.

"Tokyo stocks opened lower following losses on Wall Street... but the market lacked a sense of direction today," Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

In Tokyo trading, SoftBank Group was down 0.91% to ¥6 639 while Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing dropped 2.56% to ¥85 200.

Automakers and airlines were lower on worries that economic activity may shrink after reports said the Tokyo government may raise its virus alert level and recommend that shops close early.

Toyota dipped 1.61% to ¥7 319 while Honda fell 3.77% to ¥2 954.

Japan Airlines shed 1.69% to ¥1 976 while ANA Holdings tumbled 3.11% to ¥2 569.

Sony lost 1.81% to ¥9 237 while Panasonic sank 2.86% to ¥1 069.

The dollar fetched ¥104.00 in Asian trade, against ¥104.17 in New York.

Japan booked a trade surplus of ¥872.9 billion ($8.4 billion) in October, the fourth straight monthly surplus, according to finance ministry data released 10 minutes before the opening bell.

The headline figure, above market expectations of a ¥300 billion surplus, did not prompt any strong market reaction.

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