Nikkei closes down for fourth day

TOKYO (AFP/APP): Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index erased early gains and closed down for a fourth consecutive session on Tuesday on concerns over a surge in virus cases.
The Nikkei 225 index slid 0.36 percent, or 98.72 points, to end at 27,424.47, while the broader Topix index fell 0.49 percent, or 9.35 points, to 1,915.63.
“The growing number of cases due to the Delta variant has become a bearish factor,” Yoshihiro Ito, senior strategist at Okansan Online Securities, said in a note. “As long as the number of new cases continues to rise to record highs, investors won’t feel encouraged.”
Japan has seen nationwide daily coronavirus cases top 20,000 in recent days, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
The government is expected to extend a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions and expand the measure to other areas later in the day.
The dollar fetched 109.30 yen in Asian trade, against 109.23 in New York and 109.41 yen in Tokyo on Monday.
In Tokyo trading, market heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 1.33 percent to 6,418 yen while Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing dipped 0.09 percent to 73,150 yen.
Automakers were lower with Toyota sinking 0.61% to 9,753 yen, Honda losing 0.71% to 3,493 yen and Nissan plunging 2.35% to 579.5 yen.