June 18, 2020 / 7:03 AM / 18 days ago

Tokyo shares end lower as rising virus cases cloud recovery hopes

TOKYO, June 18 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed lower on Thursday as increasing cases of the novel coronavirus across the United States and China raised concerns about a swift recovery in the global economy.

The benchmark Nikkei average fell 0.45% to 22,355.46, with 58 advancers against 161 decliners.

While Beijing extended movement curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19, the daily count of infections hit a new high in California and Texas and Florida recorded its second-highest daily increase.

Higher U.S. infections also pushed the benchmark S&P index 0.3% lower on Wednesday.

The broader Topix fell by 0.25% to 1,583.09, with 24 of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange posting declines.

The turnover on the main board was 2.009 trillion yen ($18.79 billion), the lowest in almost a month and more than 10% below the average over the past year.

The yen also firmed against the dollar, with the dollar trading at 106.87 yen, down 0.12% during the session, hurting the earnings outlook for exporters.

Highly cyclical airline, oil and coal products as well as iron and steel led declines on the main bourse.

Airlines, one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, ended down 1.70%, while oil and coal products fell 1.22%.

Iron and steel shares fell 0.79% after U.S. Steel slumped 10% on Wednesday following its weak earnings outlook for the current quarter.

Machinery manufacturer NTN Corp slipped 5.04% as the company forecast a net loss of 43.9 billion yen for the year ending in March.

Bucking the trend, gaming company Nintendo rose 2.81% and hit a 12-year high on expectations of strong demand as people stay home during the coronavirus outbreak. ($1 = 106.9000 yen) (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Uttaresh.V)

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