(Fixes language in lead of story)
TOKYO, July 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares gave up early gains on Friday as the relentless spread of the coronavirus prompted some investor scepticism about a swift economic recovery.
The benchmark Nikkei share average was up 0.02% at 22,773.95 by the midday break, with 75 advancers against 148 decliners.
The broader Topix added 0.05% to 1,579.90, with nearly a third of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading in positive territory.
Japanese stocks opened modestly higher, taking cues from E-Mini futures for the S&P 500, which gained 0.34% on COVID-19 vaccine and U.S. stimulus hopes. Stronger Shanghai shares also provided a tailwind for the market.
The market pulled back as investors worried about Japan's COVID-19 cases, which exceeded 600 on Thursday, the highest one-day increase in three months, with Tokyo registering more than 280.
Among sectors, electric and gas, pharmaceutical , and information and telecoms were the three top gainers on the main bourse, up 1.18%, 0.93% and 0.82%, respectively.
Industrial conglomerate Hitachi Ltd gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names, jumping 4.08% on a weaker yen.
Semiconductor-related shares also advanced after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd posted a record quarterly net profit jump of 81% and forecast a revenue growth above 20% for this year.
Advantest Corp climbed 1.97%, while Screen Holdings Co Ltd and Alps Alpine Co Ltd added 1.89% and 1.42%, respectively.
The index of Mothers start-up market dipped 1.94% to 983.37, a level unseen since July 6, with biotech AnGes falling 5.61%. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)