TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed lower on Friday as the safe-haven yen strengthened on dismal U.S. data, while the resurgence of COVID-19 cases dampened hopes of a swift economic rebound.
The Nikkei share average ended 2.82% lower at 21,710.00, the biggest daily loss since June 15.
The index was down 4.58% for the week, the worst since early April. The 2.59% decline in July was its first monthly loss since March.
The broader Topix closed down 2.82% at 1,496.06, hitting its two-month low and the biggest daily losses in four months.
Market extended losses in the afternoon as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike warned that Japan’s capital could declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus situation deteriorated further, after fresh infections jumped by a record daily high of 463.
Data on Thursday showed that the U.S. economy contracted by 32.9% in the second quarter and suffered the deepest decline since the Great Depression, while weekly jobless claims increased 12,000 to 1.434 million.
Worries over a delay in economic recovery kept the U.S. dollar under pressure, down briefly against the yen at 104.195 yen, a 4-1/2 month low.
Analysts said market sentiment was also overshadowed by concerns over tepid corporate earnings.
“Companies with weak results are standing out, although not all corporate earnings are bad,” said Yutaka Masushima, market analyst at Monex Securities in Tokyo.
“It’s also clearer that the spread of the coronavirus will prolong, so it’d be difficult to chase shares higher.”
Shares of Advantest Corp plunged 14.93% at a daily-limit low, after the semi-conductor firm announced a 23.3% drop in its operating profit forecast for the year through March.
Panasonic Corp dropped 13.29% after the company said it expects annual profit to halve this financial year.
Among gainers, SoftBank-backed online fashion retailer Zozo Inc soared 21.19% to a daily-limit high after strong earnings. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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