Japanese shares slip; clock losses in June on concerns over outlook

TOKYO, June 30 (Reuters) - Japanese shares dipped on Wednesday as the highly contagious Delta variant spread in Asia, while the benchmark index posted losses for June on concerns over the outlook of the economy.

The market ended the last trading day of the month in the red for a tenth straight month as investors tend to adjust their positions at the month end. The Nikkei average dipped 0.07% to close at 28,791,53, after rising as much as 0.65% earlier in the session, while the broader Topix also changed course to edge down 0.30% to 1,943.57.

The Nikkei index lost 0.24% in June, while the Topix index rose 1%.

Shares initially took cues from an overnight rally in Wall Street on Wednesday, but investor buying quickly succumbed to the Japanese markets’ peculiar pattern since September to fall on the last trading day of the month.

Some market players think it could be due to month-end rebalancing by big investors, while others think it is just a coincidence.

“It’s just an anomaly. But then again, a lot of people are talking about it, so it does have some effect on the psychology,” Masato Kogure, group leader of trade execution at Tokai Tokyo Securities said.

The market flitted within a range, underperforming global shares, as investors weigh the progress in vaccination rollouts against a surge in domestic infections ahead of the Olympics next month.

Among big movers, Sugi Holding tumbled 8.37% after the drugstore chain operator’s quarterly earnings fell short of market expectations.

Nitto Boseki slid 4.85% after one of its shareholders announced a plan to sell almost 1 million shares, or about 2% of the outstanding shares of the textile company.

Shares of J. Front Retailing dropped 3.62% after the department store operator cut its profit outlook.

Chugai Pharmaceutical ended up 2.37% after rising as much as 7.9% as it applied for regulatory approval in Japan of an antibody treatment for COVID-19.

Ushio Inc jumped 13.41% after the lamp maker lifted its earnings outlook, doubling its net profit forecast for the current year through March.

Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Junko Fujita; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Amy Caren Daniel