Mon, 02 Aug 2021

TOKYO, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks finished lower Tuesday, decreasing consecutively in five trading days, with the Nikkei index closing at a six-month low, as a recent surge in Delta variant COVID-19 infections exacerbated concerns about a slowdown in global economic recovery.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average finished 264.58 points, or 0.96 percent, lower from Monday at 27,388.16, the lowest level since Jan. 6.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange ended 18.24 points, or 0.96 percent, lower at 1,888.89.

Trading volume on the main section increased to 1,086.46 million shares from Monday's 951.63 million shares.

After the Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight recorded its largest drop in about nine months, Tokyo stocks decreased for the fifth consecutive trading day amid concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant.

"Investors were concerned that a spread of the Delta variant, the principal reason for negative market sentiment, would slow down global economic recovery," said Maki Sawada, a strategist in Nomura Securities Co.'s investment content department.

However, she added that the decline in the Tokyo market was smaller than that of the U.S. market because investors of Japanese stocks had priced in somewhat concerns about the Delta variant during previous trading days.

Sawada said that investors were also hesitant to trade before a four-day weekend in Japan, and the earning reports would release beginning next week.

By the close of play, mining, real estate, and nonferrous metal stocks headed the downward trend. Decliners outnumbered increasing stocks 1,656 to 441, while 95 closed unchanged.

After crude oil futures dropped to their lowest levels in about two months overnight in New York trading, energy-related stocks underperformed correspondingly.

Brokers said that after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and nonmember producers agreed to phase out production cuts and demands of oil might decline due to the surge of COVID-19 infections, oil prices are expected to remain depressed.

Refiners Cosmo Energy Holdings decreased 4.1 percent, Eneos Holdings fell by 2.5 percent, while oil explorer Inpex dropped 4.5 percent.

Bucking the downward trend, Canon jumped 9.2 percent following the camera and electronic parts manufacturer revised upward its 2021 earnings forecast on Monday.

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