TOKYO, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
bounced back on Monday from a near-seven-month low hit in the
previous session, as upbeat earnings countered concerns about
the fast-spreading Delta coronavirus variant, which threatens a
fragile recovery in the economy.
The Nikkei rose 1.58% to 27,715.54, almost erasing
losses made on Friday, when it marked its lowest close since
early January. The broader Topix gained 1.64% to
Cyclical shares including shippers and
steelmakers led the gains while upbeat earning
results infused the market with some energy.
NEC rose 4.5% after the electronics and IT company
posted a surprise return to profits in the April-June quarter.
Autopart maker Denso jumped 5.1%, extending its
gains to a second session after reporting strong earnings.
Misumi Group gained 8.4% to hit a record high,
after the trading firm specialised in factory automation and
machine parts reported brisk earnings.
With about 40% of 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 11.4% after the
cosmetic firm's results for April-June fell far short of market
West Japan Railway lost 6.8% after the railway
company posted disappointing earnings, underscoring the damage
from the pandemic to the sector.
East Japan Railway and Central Japan Railway
fell 2.8% and 2.3% respectively, also following their
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
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich)