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A woman walks past an electronic stock board.AP
Japanese shares ended weaker on Wednesday as investor sentiment turned negative in response to Tokyo's highest daily COVID-19 cases in more than a month.
The benchmark Nikkei average closed 0.07% lower at 22,534.32, with 59 advancers against 163 decliners.
Earlier in the session, Tokyo markets tracked overnight gains in Wall Street as improving economic data and the prospect of more stimulus bolstered hopes of a swift recovery.
The pace of contraction in the US manufacturing and services sectors eased in June with reopening of businesses. While new home sales jumped 16.6% in May, blowing past estimates of a 2.9% rise.
However, an increase in Tokyo's coronavirus infections on Wednesday lifted the risk-averse sentiment.
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The 55 fresh cases marked the highest tally since May 5, according to public broadcaster NHK. Tokyo has said restrictions could be reimposed if new cases went up to 50 or more.
Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo, said pandemic-related worries could weigh down markets in the short term.
"People who are sensitive to coronavirus will probably refrain from going outside, in which case would damage restaurant and service businesses," Ishiguro said.
The broader Topix fell 0.42% to 1,580.50, with all but five of Tokyo's 33 subindexes trading in the red.
Shippers and textiles were the worst performers among the Tokyo's 33 subindexes, falling 2.61% and 1.66%, respectively.
Start-up market Mothers Index advanced 0.86%, as three new initial public offerings were announced for the first time in two-and-a-half months.
Elsewhere, SoftBank Group Corp dropped 1.84% after the company said it will sell up to 198.3 million T-Mobile US Inc shares.
Investors also maintained a cautious stance ahead of the International Monetary Fund updated report on World Economic Outlook scheduled later in the day.
The Nikkei index settled 1.59% higher at 22,945.50 after hitting its highest level since June 10, with industrial and consumer discretional shares leading the advance.
The pan-European STOXX 600 slipped 0.1% by 0716 GMT, oil & gas and chemical leading the declines, while a 1.2% jump in retailers helped counter the losses.
Asian shares climbed toward five-month peaks on Monday as investors wagered the U.S. earnings season would see most companies beat forecasts given expectations had been lowered so far by coronavirus lockdowns.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.73 per cent, or 166.74 points, to 22,884.22 while the broader Topix index was up 0.36 per cent, or 5.71 points, at 1,582.74.
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