Tokyo stocks close lower with wary eyes on virus

Written by The Frontier Post

TOKYO (AFP/APP): Tokyo stocks closed lower Monday as investors weighed rising coronavirus infections against the positive effects of new US and Japanese stimulus packages.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.18 percent, or 48.97 points, to 26,714.42, while the broader Topix index was down 0.23 percent, or 4.19 points, at 1,789.05.

Shortly before the Tokyo market opened, US lawmakers reached a deal for a nearly $900 billion Covid-19 relief package for millions of Americans as the nation struggles with the world’s largest outbreak of the virus.

At home, Japan’s government approved a record 106.6 trillion yen ($1 trillion) budget for the next fiscal year, including measures to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

The US deal is “prompting purchases, but concerns over a rise in new coronavirus infections at home and abroad are weighing on the market”, Mizuho Securities said.

Other analysts agreed that trade lacked a clear sense of direction with investors caught between optimism and pessimism.

“The Nikkei is facing the 27,000 yen barrier,” said Yoshihiro Okumura of Chibagin Asset Management.

“The market needs fresh, positive factors to break it,” Okumura told AFP.

The dollar fetched 103.45 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 103.28 yen in New York late Friday.

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