Japan share market finished lower for a third consecutive session on Friday, 20 November 2020, as rising coronavirus cases fueled concerns that officials will place new restrictions on business activity. Data showing that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in November also dampened sentiment.
At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average declined 106.97 points, or 0.42%, to 25,527.37. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 0.98 points, or 0.06%, to 1,727.39.
Total 15 sector sub-indexes of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower, with Iron & Steel, Rubber Products, Metal Products, Transportation Equipment, Marine Transportation, and Nonferrous Metals sectors being notable losers, while Insurance, Air Transportation, Pulp & Paper, Land Transportation, and Precision Instruments issues were notable gainers.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government raised its virus alert status to its fourth and highest level after daily coronavirus cases in Japan hit another record high on Thursday. Japan's prime minister said the country is on "maximum alert" after logging a record number of daily coronavirus infections, though no immediate restrictions are planned.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike urged residents today to stay careful, especially when dining out, over the three-day weekend.
Transport-related shares were down due to the increasing number of virus cases in Japan. Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing dropped 2.54% while Sony dipped 0.15%. Airlines were lower after reports said people were cancelling their trips due to the growing number of cases, with Japan Airlines falling 2.24% and ANA Holdings sinking 1.24%.
In economic news, Japan consumer prices were down 0.4% on year in October, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said on Friday, following the flat reading in September. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, tumbled 0.7% on year following the 0.3% drop in the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, overall inflation lost 0.4% and core CPI eased 0.2%.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen weakened against the dollar, trading at 103.80 compared to an earlier level of 103.71.
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