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Japanese shares slip as virus resurgence spurs slowdown worries

TOKYO, July 1 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed lower on Thursday, weighed down by worries that a resurgence of COVID-19 infections would lead to an extension of restrictions and slow the economic recovery.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.29% to 28,707.04, while the broader Topix slipped 0.22% to 1,939.21.

Japan is likely to extend by two weeks or more coronavirus containment measures in the greater Tokyo area as infection numbers creep up less than a month before the Summer Olympics start.

“Investors are holding their bets as they are worried about a resurgence of the coronavirus,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“Shares that gained on expectations for an economic recovery in the past month are losing momentum. But some investors are buying equities which are cheap relative to U.S. peers and that is limiting declines.”

Technology stocks led the fall on Nikkei, with start-up investor SoftBank Group losing 0.63%, chip making equipment maker Advantest shedding 1.8% and medical equipment maker Terumo dropping 1.53%.

The sea transport sector fell 3.84% and was the biggest loser among the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo bourse, with Kawasaki Kisen declining 4.63%, Mitsui OSK Lines losing 3.93% and Nippon Yusen shedding 3.73%.

Furniture and home improvement goods store operator Nitori rose 2.14% after posting a record quarterly net profit.

Shin-Etsu Chemical advanced 1.32% and was the top gainer among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Sony Group , which rose 1.16%.

Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd slipped 1.51% and was the biggest loser on the Topix 30, followed by Mitsui & Co, which fell 1.28%.

There were 87 advancers on the Nikkei index against 127 decliners.

The index of Tokyo Stock Exchange’s second section fell 0.41% and the Mothers Index of start-up firm shares lost 0.6%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Aditya Soni and Subhranshu Sahu)

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