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Japan Nikkei closes lower on firmer yen

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The Japan share market finished session lower on Thursday, 13 February 2020, as investors pocketed yesterday's gains due to yen appreciation against greenback and as reports stated a sharp jump in the death toll from the coronavirus triggered concerns that the epidemic could get worse before it is brought under control. About two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were lower, with iron and steel , machinery and paper and pulp stocks being notable losers. At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average declined 33.48 points, or 0.14%, to 23,82773, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange eased 5.84 points, or 0.34%, at 1,713.08.

China's Hubei province on Thursday reported a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases. It said it started to include clinically diagnosed cases in its tally. The death toll in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the flu-like virus outbreak, rose by 242 to 1,310 as of Wednesday.

A record 14,840 cases were reported in Hubei on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier, under a new method for diagnosing cases.

Market sentiment had been been positive earlier in the week as the data had been showing an apparent slowdown in the pace of new reported cases, with policymakers in China having announced a series of measures to combat the expected economic slowdown from the virus outbreak.

Shares of export-related players declined as, the safe-haven yen firmed against the dollar, pulling back from the three-week low of 110.15 yen hit on Wednesday and on worries of supply chain disruptions from the virus outbreak in China. SoftBank Group Corp (SBG) retreated 5.1%, on profit booking after 11.9% surge on Wednesday in response to a U. S. federal judge's approval of a takeover of its unit Sprint by T-Mobile.

Taiko Pharmaceutical soared 6.8% to a record high on increasing demand for the drugmaker's virus-removal and infection-control products.

Semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron climbed 2.1% to an all-time high as the world's largest chip gear maker Applied Materials Inc forecast better-than-expected revenue and profit for the second quarter.

Sanyo Shokai gained 3.4% after U. S. activist investor RMB Capital said the Chicago-based firm requested the Japanese clothing company to seek a strategic buyer.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, appreciated against a basket of currencies. The Japanese yen traded at 109.79 per dollar following an earlier low of 110.09.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 13 2020. 14:35 IST