TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended lower on
Monday for a fourth straight session, as sentiment was hit by
worries over the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant
and that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could worsen the health crisis.
The Nikkei share average fell 1.25% to 27,652.74,
falling below a major support level of its 200-day moving
average of 27,672 for the first time since early last year.
"The 200-day average is an important technical level. A fall
below that could possibly lead to a fall to around 25,500," said
Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a senior strategist at Mizuho Securities.
Semiconductor-related stocks led the decline after U.S. tech
shares slumped last week, with the Philadelphia semiconductor
shares index hitting a one-month low.
Taiyo Yuden lost 3.63%, while Sumco fell
4.1%. Tokyo Electron was down 2.09%, while Advantest
The broader Topix lost 1.3%, with all of its 33
industry sub-indexes except the drug sector in the
red, in line with shares slipping globally on rising concerns
about a surge in coronavirus cases.
Tokyo Olympics organisers on Sunday reported the first
COVID-19 cases among competitors residing in the athletes'
village, as its population swells ahead of the start of the
pandemic-hit Games next week.
"We could see clusters at Olympics, and then more infections
in Tokyo. That could lead to political instabilities in Japan,"
said Naoya Oshikubo, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust
Eroding public support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
ahead of an election later this year also weighed on investor
sentiment, with a Kyodo poll showing on Sunday that his
cabinet's support rate fell to 35.9%, the lowest since he took
power last September.
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi
Aich and Subhranshu Sahu)