TOKYO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell for a second session on Thursday as rising coronavirus cases at home and exporters’ concerns over a firmer yen dented investor sentiment.
The Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.48% to 25,603.77 at 0205 GMT, while the broader Topix was down 0.25% at 1,716.30.
COVID-19 cases in Tokyo hit a record daily high on Wednesday and investors are worried that policymakers will order services sector companies to shorten their business hours.
Infections are also rising rapidly in the United States, raising concerns about the health of the world’s largest economy.
“Equity prices have risen very rapidly, so we are now in a phase where many people are considering taking profits,” said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.
“If this were the spring, the Japanese government would already be telling people to stay at home. However, the downside for equities is limited because the decline in economic activity is likely to be less than it was earlier this year.”
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Astellas Pharma Inc down 2.27%, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc losing 1.90%.
Shares also took a hit as the yen rose to a one-week high. A stronger yen tends to decrease earnings for exporters.
The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, up 2.28%, followed by trading house Itochu Corp, which rose 1.71%.
There were 72 advancers on the Nikkei index against 150 decliners. About 0.47 billion shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board, compared with an average of 1.13 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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