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Japanese shares fall as economy shrinks at record rate on pandemic woes

Stanley White
·1 min read

By Stanley White

TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday by the most in two weeks after data showed the country's economy shrank at a record pace in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic crimped consumer spending. Investors took the data in their stride and locked in profits as the economy slowly emerges from the lockdowns. The equity market did not react to a domestic media report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has entered hospital for an examination.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.69% to 23,127.75 by 0207 GMT, with healthcare and telecommunications shares pacing the decline. The broader Topix was down 0.4%.

Some investors sold shares of companies that recently reported favourable earnings. Others booked profits on companies in health care and technology that have risen sharply due to expectations that these sectors would benefit from the pandemic.

However, the overall mood was cautious due to the simmering diplomatic row between the United States and China and questions about how major economies will cope with a recent spike in virus infections.

The underperformers among the top 30 core Topix names were telecom and venture capitalist SoftBank Group Corp, down 2.69%, followed by job placement company Recruit Holdings Co Ltd, losing 2.53%.

The stocks that gained the most among the Topix 30 were games maker Nintendo Co Ltd, up 1.15 %, followed by auto manufacturer Honda Motor Co Ltd, gaining 1.1%.

There were 80 advancers on the Nikkei index against 134 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was 0.3 billion, compared to the average of 1.22 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Arun Koyyur)