June 22, 2020 / 3:40 AM / 16 days ago

Nikkei inches higher amid continued worries over virus spread

TOKYO, June 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei average edged higher on Monday, moving in a narrow range, while investors remained concerned over rising number of coronavirus cases.

The benchmark index rose 0.09% to 22,49.32 by the midday break, tracking a 0.4% gain in U.S. S&P 500 futures.

On the Nikkei index, there were 105 advancers against 116 decliners.

Investors remained cautious as the World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the biggest in North and South America.

Sentiments also soured after Apple Inc announced a temporary shutdown on Friday of its 11 stores in Florida, Arizona, South Carolina and North Carolina..

Apple Inc’s store closure announcement resulted in a fall in Apple-related stocks in Japan, with Alps Alpine falling 1.25%, Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd dipping 1.01% and Rohm Co Ltd edging 0.67% lower.

In the broader market, Topix fell 0.04% to 1,582.17, with almost a half of 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange in negative territory.

Steelmakers and pharmaceutical sectors were the biggest advancers among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s subindexes, each notching up 1.39% and 1.26% respectively.

Toshiba Corp jumped 6.28% after the company announced in a statement that it plans to monetise its stake in former flash memory chips unit Kioxia Holdings and return a majority of the net proceeds to shareholders. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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