July 17, 2020 / 7:28 AM / 17 days ago

Japanese shares extend falls as coronavirus worries persist

TOKYO, July 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares extended falls into a second session on Friday as the relentless spread of the coronavirus prompted some investor scepticism about a swift economic recovery.

The benchmark Nikkei share average ended 0.32% lower at 22,696.42, with 50 advancers on the index against 170 decliners.

The broader Topix lost 0.33% at 1,573.85, with all but seven of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading in the red.

Japanese stocks opened modestly higher, taking cues from E-Mini futures for the S&P 500, which gained on COVID-19 vaccine and U.S. stimulus hopes.

The mood of risk aversion flared up in the afternoon session after Tokyo posted another record daily high of COVID-19 cases at 293 on Friday.

Airline shares took a hit and fell 3.06% as the Japanese government barred Tokyo residents from claiming a travel subsidy aimed at reviving pandemic-hit domestic tourism industry.

ANA Holdings Inc slumped 3.64%, while Japan Airlines Co Ltd dipped 2.34%.

Other issues that led declines on the main bourse were real estate and iron and steel, falling 2.26% and 2.07% respectively.

Analysts said some investors closed positions ahead of the forthcoming corporate earnings.

Among gainers, semiconductor-related shares advanced after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd posted a record quarterly net profit jump of 81% and forecast a revenue growth above 20% for this year.

Screen Holdings Co Ltd gained 2.27%, while Advantest Corp and Alps Alpine Co Ltd added 1.36% and 1.63%, respectively.

The index of Mothers start-up market slipped 1.59% to 985.06, a level unseen since July 6, with biotech AnGes falling 4.5%. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shailesh Kuber)

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