Tokyo stocks wobble after China reports sharp rise in virus deaths

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Tokyo stocks wobble after China reports sharp rise in virus deaths
Credit: © Reuters.

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares wobbled on Thursday as a sharp jump in the death toll from the coronavirus triggered concerns that the epidemic could get worse before it is brought under control.

The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 slipped 0.14% to 23,827.73, while the broader Topix .TOPX fell 0.34% to 1,713.08.

The death toll in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the flu-like virus outbreak, rose by 242 to 1,310 as of Wednesday. A record 14,840 cases were reported in Hubei on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier, under a new method for diagnosing cases. safe-haven yen JPY=EBS firmed against the dollar, pulling back from the three-week low of 110.15 yen hit on Wednesday and weighed on export-related stocks.

About two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were trading lower, with iron and steel .ISTEL.T , machinery .IMCHN.T and paper and pulp stocks .IPAPR.T leading the losses.

Tokyo-listed shares were weighed down by worries of supply chain disruptions from the virus outbreak in China.

A bright spot was Taiko Pharmaceutical 4754.T , which soared 6.8% to a record high on increasing demand for the drugmaker's virus-removal and infection-control products.

Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp (SBG) 9984.T retreated 5.1%, after a 11.9% surge on Wednesday in response to a U.S. federal judge's approval of a takeover of its unit Sprint S.N by T-Mobile TMUS.O .

The tech conglomerate's third-quarter operating profit fell 99%, pulled down by losses at the $100 billion Vision Fund, but its founder and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son said the company's performance was already improving. investors who are critical to SBG's plans for a second massive tech investment fund are refusing to take part unless the first Vision Fund can turn around its performance, Reuters reported on Thursday citing sources. the broader weakness, chip-related stocks continued to attract buying.

Semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd 8035.T climbed 2.1% to an all-time high as the world's largest chip gear maker Applied Materials Inc AMAT.O forecast better-than-expected revenue and profit for the second quarter. Shokai Ltd 8011.T gained 3.4% after U.S. activist investor RMB Capital said the Chicago-based firm requested the Japanese clothing company to seek a strategic buyer.

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