January 22, 2020 / 2:28 AM / 3 months ago

Japan shares claw back earlier virus-related losses but worries persist

TOKYO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Japanese shares made modest gains on Wednesday, as earlier investor panic about the coronavirus in China abated, although hygeine-related firms remained in demand and pressure on the tourism sector persisted.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.2% to 23,904.51 in mid-morning trade, partially clawing back losses from the previous session, while the broader Topix added 0.1% to 1,737.47.

The virus, which causes a type of pneumonia, has spread to more Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai as the number of patients in China more than tripled. More cases were are reported outside China, including the United States.

Support for hygiene-related stocks remained strong. Azearth , a supplier of protective attire, soared 14.4%, one day after it climbed to its daily limit while fibre-maker Omikenshi jumped 8.3%, also after rising to its daily limit previous day.

Daikin Industries, which produces air conditioning products, gained 0.7%.

On the flip side, inbound tourism-related stocks remained under pressure.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings dropped 1.3%, while Bic Camera Inc and Pan Pacific International Holdings sagged 0.7% each, due to worries that the number of Chinese tourists to Japan could decrease.

Traders said institutional investors have also adopted a wait-and-see mood ahead the Japanese corporate earnings season for the October-December quarter.

Nidec Corp and Disco Corp are due to announce their financial results on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Mitsubishi Motors slumped 4.0% after the German prosecutor's office said it is probing the carmaker for suspected use of illegal defeat devices installed in its diesel engines. (Reporting By Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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