SYDNEY, April 6 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced on Monday as markets were encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus deaths and new cases in U.S. hot spots, although uncertainty about a potential lockdown in Tokyo kept some investors wary.
The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 rose 2.4% to 18,249.57 by the midday break, led by futures tagging sharp gains in U.S. stock futures.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index ESc1 jumped as much as 3.3% after U.S. President Donald Trump expressed hope the country was seeing a "levelling off" of the coronavirus crisis in hot spots. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will impose a state of emergency as early as Tuesday in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, as the cumulative number of infections topped 1,000 in Tokyo alone.
Abe will likely announce his plans to declare the emergency on Monday, the paper said, while the Kyodo news agency said new measures would likely come into force on Wednesday. analysts said the government could declare a state of emergency when it announces an economic stimulus package on Tuesday to combat the coronavirus pandemic. broader Topix .TOPX added 1.8% to 1,349.53 by the midday recess, with all but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in positive territory.
Information and communication .ICOMS.T was the top performing sector, rising 4.3% on hopes for growing demand for data as more people work from home or stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fujifilm Holdings Corp 4901.T jumped 6.1% to hit a record high after Reuters and other media reported that Japan was planning to boost stockpiles of the Avigan anti-flu drug, which is being tested as a treatment for COVID-19 in China. Co Ltd 4061.T , which produces the raw chemicals used to make Avigan, soared 14.6%.
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