Japan stocks extend falls on fears of new restrictions

TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell for a third consecutive session on Friday as a rise in new domestic coronavirus infections to record highs fuelled concerns that officials will place new restrictions on business activity.

The Nikkei 225 index declined 0.49% to 25,508.93 by 0205 GMT. The broader Topix was down 0.15% at 1,723.84.

The Nikkei hit a 29-year high on Tuesday as optimism about progress in developing a coronavirus vaccine lifted equities.

The optimism, however, faded quickly as a sharp increase in coronavirus cases suggests Japan’s economy could weaken before a vaccine becomes widely available. For the week, the Nikkei was on course for a 0.5% increase.

Authorities in the United States and Europe are placing new restrictions to slow another wave of virus infections, which is an additional reason to pocket profits on the rally in global stocks from March lows, analysts say.

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Daikin Industries Ltd, down 3.10%, followed by Tokio Marine Holdings Inc, down 2.70%.

Air conditioner maker Daikin took a hit after the Nikkei newspaper reported that electric vehicle maker Tesla was considering making air conditioners for homes.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were SoftBank Group Corp, up 2.57%, followed by Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd, up 1.45%.

Hitachi Metals Ltd jumped by 9.59% after Nikkei reported that its parent Hitachi Ltd had begun accepting bids for the metals company.

There were 68 advancers on the Nikkei index against 154 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.44 billion, compared to the average of 1.15 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)