June 15, 2020 / 7:25 AM / 2 months ago

Japan shares hit near 3-week low on fears of second coronavirus wave

TOKYO, June 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares slipped to near three-week low on Monday as concerns about a spike in new cases of COVID-19 worldwide poured cold water on hopes of a quick recovery from a coronavirus-driven global recession.

The benchmark Nikkei average dropped plunged 3.47% to 21,530.95, its lowest since May 27, slipping below a key support of the 200-day moving average, which stood at 21,755.

As new coronavirus cases resurfaced in China and the United States, worries about a second wave have deepened, prompting fears about prolonged damage to the economy.

“U.S. shares had become very expensive, reaching levels above which further gains cannot be justified. And if U.S. shares won’t rise, Japanese shares will have no choice but to pause,” said Hiroki Takashi, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

On the Nikkei index, there were 5 advancers against 219 decliners, with cyclical shares leading the losses.

Airlines, one of the hardest-hit victims of the pandemic, lost 4.96% as concerns about the virus reared their head.

Shippers dropped 3.71% and real estate , the biggest decliner among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry subindexes, lost 5.06%.

Semi-conductor-related shares were also lower, with chip equipment manufacturer Advantest dropping 6.96%, Tokyo Electron losing 5.55% and Screen Holdings shedding 7.0%.

Sapporo Holdings lost 5.76 % after Nomura cut its rating on the beverage firm and lowered the target price, citing the impact of the pandemic.

The broader Topix lost 2.54% to 1537.89.

The market showed muted response to a barrage of Chinese economic data that was slightly weaker than expected.

China’s industrial output rose for a second straight month in May but the gain was smaller than expected, suggesting the economy was still struggling to get back on track after the virus crisis. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Editing by Hideyuki Sano, Uttaresh.V and Aditya Soni)

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