TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell
to a six-month low on Tuesday, tracking a broad sell-off on Wall
Street as concerns grew that rising coronavirus cases globally
could derail a nascent economic recovery.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.96% to close at
27,388.16, its lowest since Jan. 6. The broader Topix
also lost 0.96% to 1,888.89. Both the indexes fell for a fifth
Overnight, all three major U.S. stock indexes ended sharply
lower, with the S&P and the Nasdaq posting their biggest one-day
percentage drop since mid-May, as investors feared renewed
COVID-19 shutdowns and a protracted economic recovery.
As COVID-19 cases rise in Tokyo, now under its fourth state
of emergency, public concern has grown that hosting the Tokyo
Olympics with tens of thousands of overseas visitors could
accelerate infection rates in Japan's capital and introduce
variants that are more infectious or deadlier.
"Investors are increasingly concerned about a slowdown of
economic recovery," said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the
investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.
"Declines in U.S. equities hit investor appetite, which was
already weak ahead of Japan's four-day weekend and corporate
earnings reports after that."
Japan's markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday for
public holidays, with the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on Friday.
Among Nikkei heavyweights, global start-up investor SoftBank
Group fell 1.57%, while Fast Retailing, the
owner of Uniqlo clothing stores, lost 1.12% and robot maker
Fanuc declined 2.41%.
Of the 33 industry sub-indexes, only precision equipment and
food makers rose. The energy sector
declined the most with a 4.26% drop on weak oil
Canon surged 9.24% after raising its annual
operating profit forecast by 43% on strong demand for printers
during the pandemic.
Other office equipment makers also rose, with Seiko Epson
gaining 5.15% and Ricoh adding 1.8%. Canon's
rival Nikon climbed 2.98%.
($1 = 109.5100 yen)
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)