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Japan Shares End Lower, Chip Stocks fall on COVID-19 Worries

TOKYO, July 7 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended lower on Wednesday, dragged down by chip-related stocks, with worries over a resurgence of COVID-19 infections ahead of the Tokyo Olympics weighing on sentiment.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.96% to close at 28,366.95, while the broader Topix slipped 0.86% to 1,937.68.

Chip-related shares tracked the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index lower, with Tokyo Electron slipping 0.4%, Advantest falling 0.82% and Shin-Etsu Chemical dropping 3.27%.

“It is still hard to find positive news to lift Japanese shares as the pace for vaccine rollouts is taking a pause and the number of coronavirus infections in Tokyo is on the rise, and we have the Olympics amid the pandemic,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

The government is floating proposals that would ban fans from all events at this month’s Olympics which is set to start later this month, local media reported, as officials scramble to address public concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Arisawa added that the Dow’s weak finish overnight also pressuring Japanese stocks.

Other local heavyweight stocks also declined.

Fast Retailing, known for its Uniqlo brand clothing stores, also dragged on the Nikkei by falling 1.11%.

Technology start-up investor SoftBank Group fell 0.62% as Didi Global, which it backs, fell as much as 25% in early U.S. trading on Tuesday after Chinese regulators ordered Didi’s app be taken down.

All but the precision instrument maker sector of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange fell, with oil developers and natural resources firms leading declines.

Bank shares fell as U.S Treasury yields declined, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group falling 1.99%, Mizuho Financial Group losing 1.89% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group falling 1.83%.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Rashmi Aich

Source: Reuters

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