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Japanese shares fall, struggle to shake off Delta variant fears

08/18/2021 | 10:45pm EST

TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japanese shares slipped on Thursday, struggling to shake off concerns that the spreading Delta coronavirus variant could delay an economic recovery.

By midday recess, the Nikkei share average fell 0.69% to 27,394.43, inching closer to near seven-month low of 27,272 touched on July 30. The broader Topix lost 0.74% to 1,909,70.

"At the moment, there is no clear case to buy Japanese shares. But support for the Nikkei seems solid around the 27,000 mark," said Hiroyuki Ueno, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset.

Record COVID-19 cases sprang up across Japan on Wednesday, the media said, a day after the government expanded emergency measures to fight a wave fuelled by the infectious Delta variant that has put the medical system under threat.

Soft oil prices hit shares of trading houses, with Mitsui Co losing 5.5% and Marubeni shedding 2.6%.

Oil companies also suffered, with Eneos Holdings, Idemitsu Kosan and Inpex losing, 3.1%, 2.8% and 3.5%, respectively.

Semiconductor-related shares continued to suffer from fears about slowing growth, with Screen Holdings 5.9% and Advantest losing 2.3%.

Cyclicals such as steelmakers, non-ferrous metal firms and securities brokerages slumped, with fall of 3.2%, 2.3% and 1.6% respectively.

Online brokerage and owner of a cryptocurrency exchange Monex fell 5.2% after a media report that U.S. cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase will start a service in Japan.

On the other hand, the country's deepening health crisis boosted developers of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

Chugai Pharmaceutical rose 4.6%, while Shionogi gained 4.2% and Daiichi Sankyo added 3.4%. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, additional reporting by Daiki Iga; editing by Uttaresh.V)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADVANTEST CORPORATION 0.71% 9880 End-of-day quote.27.81%
CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. -3.18% 3800 End-of-day quote.-30.95%
COINBASE GLOBAL, INC. 5.83% 320.71 Delayed Quote.0.00%
DAIICHI SANKYO COMPANY, LIMITED -1.02% 2912 End-of-day quote.-17.62%
ENEOS HOLDINGS, INC. -2.48% 424.9 End-of-day quote.14.71%
IDEMITSU KOSAN CO.,LTD. -2.05% 2911 End-of-day quote.28.24%
INPEX CORPORATION -1.47% 936 End-of-day quote.68.35%
MARUBENI CORPORATION -1.90% 1034 End-of-day quote.50.71%
MITSUI & CO., LTD. -1.88% 2632 End-of-day quote.39.30%
MONEX GROUP, INC. -2.64% 848 End-of-day quote.119.69%
SCREEN HOLDINGS CO., LTD. 0.17% 11510 End-of-day quote.51.45%
SHIONOGI & CO., LTD. -0.10% 8085 End-of-day quote.43.48%
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