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Japan shares end higher as earnings cheer offsets virus worries

08/02/2021 | 02:38am EDT

TOKYO, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended higher on Monday as upbeat earnings from shippers and other cyclical firms countered concerns about the fast-spreading Delta coronavirus variant, which threatens a fragile recovery in the economy.

The Nikkei average ended 1.82% higher at 27,781.02, erasing losses made on Friday, when it marked its lowest close since early January.

The broader Topix gained 2.05% to 1,940.05, its highest close since July 14.

Shippers led gains, adding 9.2% to hit a 13-year high, following strong earnings from Mitsui OSK. The sub-index has gained 18.2% over the past two sessions.

Mitsui OSK shares jumped 10.6%, while rival Kawasaki Kisen soared 9.1% and Nippon Yusen added 8.5%.

Automobile parts maker Denso jumped 5.0%, extending its gains to a second session after reporting strong earnings.

NEC rose 4.0% after the electronics and IT company posted a surprise return to profits in the April-June quarter.

Misumi Group gained 8.8% to hit a record high, after the trading firm specialised in factory automation and machine parts reported brisk earnings.

With about 40% of Topix companies having reported their earnings, operating profit grew about 240% from a year earlier, analysts at Okasan Securities wrote. Of those, 211 firms posted positive surprises, compared with 76 with negative ones, they said.

Among decliners, Kose tumbled 12.1% after the cosmetic firm's results for April-June fell far short of market expectations.

West Japan Railway lost 3.9% after the railway company posted disappointing earnings, underscoring the damage from the pandemic to the sector.

East Japan Railway and Central Japan Railway fell 1.7% and 1.3%, respectively, following their earnings.

Recovery in travel demand looks set to be delayed further as the nation's coronavirus cases are soaring at an unprecedented pace due to the spread of Delta variant.

"In the short term, the COVID-19 weighs on the market as the government expanded state of emergency and cases in Tokyo hit record high," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Ramakrishnan M.)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CENTRAL JAPAN RAILWAY COMPANY 3.15% 16365 End-of-day quote.12.17%
DENSO CORPORATION -1.31% 7740 End-of-day quote.26.18%
EAST JAPAN RAILWAY COMPANY 1.87% 7088 End-of-day quote.2.95%
KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA, LTD. -4.07% 7310 End-of-day quote.246.12%
KOSÉ CORPORATION -1.83% 12900 End-of-day quote.-26.70%
MISUMI GROUP INC. 0.00% 4805 End-of-day quote.41.95%
MITSUI O.S.K. LINES, LTD. -3.26% 9190 End-of-day quote.191.75%
NEC CORPORATION -2.66% 6220 End-of-day quote.12.27%
NIKKEI 225 -2.17% 29839.71 Real-time Quote.11.13%
NIPPON YUSEN KABUSHIKI KAISHA -2.80% 10060 End-of-day quote.318.82%
OKASAN SECURITIES GROUP INC. -3.25% 417 End-of-day quote.11.20%
WEST JAPAN RAILWAY COMPANY 2.77% 5192 End-of-day quote.-3.83%
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