July 30, 2020 / 6:42 AM / 16 days ago

Japanese shares end lower as virus worries cloud sentiment

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - Japanese shares reversed course to end lower on Thursday, as renewed concerns about rising cases of the novel coronavirus in Japan outweighed optimism around U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision and upbeat earnings reports.

The Nikkei 225 index ended down 0.26% at 22,339.23, while the broader Topix lost 0.62% to 1,539.47.

All but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange dropped, with airlines, electric and gas and land transport leading the declines.

Sentiment turned sour after the Nikkei daily reported Tokyo plans to urge shorter operating hours for restaurants and karaoke parlours next month, a day after daily new cases crossed the 1,000-mark for the first time in Japan.

Markets had risen in early trade, tracking a Wall Street rally after the U.S. Federal Reserve repeated a pledge to use its "full range of tools" to support the economy and kept the interest rates near zero.

Among individual shares and sectors, ANA Holdings shed 2.81% after the airline reported a quarterly operating loss of 159 billion yen ($1.51 billion) as the pandemic hit travel.

Kao Corporation slipped 5.16% as the toiletry goods maker cut its profit forecast for the year through March.

Department stores Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings slumped 10.18% to hit a record low after the firm posted a quarterly loss and forecast a 60 billion yen net loss for the current fiscal year.

Among gainers, M3 rose 6.05% to a record high following a 26.4% jump in its operating profit for the April-June quarter.

Nomura Holdings added 4.5% as it reported its second-best quarterly profit since 2002.

Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group added 2.36% after the tech conglomerate said it had set up a testing centre to diagnose COVID-19 using saliva. ($1 = 105.2100 yen) (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V)

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