TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average plumbed a six-month low on Tuesday, following a broad sell-off on Wall Street as concerns grew that rising coronavirus cases globally could derail a nascent economic recovery.
The Nikkei share average was down 0.41% to 27,537.96 by 0210 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Jan. 7. The broader Topix fell 0.5% to 1,897.63.
Overnight, all three major U.S. stock indexes ended sharply lower, with the S&P and the Nasdaq posting their biggest one-day percentage drop since mid-May, as investors feared renewed COVID-19 shutdowns and a protracted economic recovery.
As COVID-19 cases rise in Tokyo, now under its fourth state of emergency, public concern has grown that hosting the Tokyo Olympics with tens of thousands of overseas visitors could accelerate infection rates in Japan’s capital and introduce variants that are more infectious or deadlier.
“Investors are increasingly concerned about a slowdown of economic recovery,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.
“Declines in U.S. equities hit investor appetite, which was already weak ahead of Japan’s four-day weekend and corporate earnings reports after that.”
Japan’s markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday for public holidays, with the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on Friday.
Among Nikkei heavyweights, global start-up investor SoftBank Group fell 0.79%, while Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo clothing stores, lost 0.47% and robot maker Fanuc declined 2.21%.
Of the 33 industry sub-indexes, only precision equipment makers and shippers rose. The energy sector declined the most with a 3.34% drop on weak oil prices.
Canon surged 8.09% after raising its annual operating profit forecast by 43% on strong demand for printers during the pandemic.
Other office equipment makers also rose, with Seiko Epson gaining 5.86% and Ricoh adding 2.49%. Canon’s rival Nikon climbed 3.09%. ($1 = 109.5100 yen) (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)