TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares recouped early losses to end higher on Monday as expectations that the central bank would purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offset weak data that showed the country’s exports suffered a double-digit decline for the fourth month.
The benchmark Nikkei share average ended 0.09% higher at 22,717.48, clawing back from negative territory in early trade. There were 114 advancers in the Nikkei index against 105 decliners.
Traders speculated that the Bank of Japan would buy ETFs to support a weak morning session.
Official data showed Japan’s exports slumped 26.2% in June from a year earlier, bigger than the 24.9% decline expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
Shares of export-oriented automakers underperformed as the data indicated a huge annual decline in U.S.-bound automobile exports.
Suzuki Motor Corp slipped 3.64%, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp were down 3.0% and 1.77%, respectively.
Nearly half of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher, with securities, machinery and electric machiner leading advancers on the main bourse.
Fujitsu Ltd led the largest percentage gainer, spiking 3.96% after the Nikkei business daily reported that the British government named Fujitsu and NEC Corp as potential alternative suppliers to Huawei to help build its 5G wireless networks.
Investors remained cautious about rising coronavirus cases, as more than 14.38 million people have been reported to be infected by the virus globally and 601,961 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Elsewhere, transportation and tourism stocks underperformed as Japan’s travel subsidy campaign, which is set to begin on Wednesday, sparked coronavirus concerns.
ANA Holdings shedded 3.21%, while travel agency H.I.S. Co Ltd dipped 4.08%
The broader Topix added 0.2% to 1,577.03. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)