SYDNEY, June 25 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks dropped on Thursday, tracking losses on Wall Street, as rising U.S. coronavirus cases shook investor confidence in a quick recovery of the pandemic-hit economy.
The benchmark Nikkei average fell 1.3% to 22,234.80 by the midday break, its lowest level since June 18, with the blue-chip exporters leading the decline.
Overnight, Wall Street’s three major indexes suffered their biggest daily percentage drop in almost two weeks as a surge in coronavirus cases intensified fears of another round of government lockdowns and worsening economic damage.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index were last quoted down 0.6% in Asian trade.
The broader Topix shed 1.2% to 1,561.63 by the midday recess, its lowest level since June 16, with all but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading lower.
Highly cyclical sea transport, air transport and non-ferrous metals were among the worst performing sectors on the main bourse.
Bucking the overall weakness, Olympus Corp surged 9.1% to hit a four-month high after the company said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell its historic but unprofitable camera business to Japan Industrial Partners Inc.
Nomura analyst Motoya Kohtani said the decision came as a positive surprise and represents a major step towards achieving Olympus’s medium-term business plan to improve its operating margin.
NEC Corp advanced 3.4% after the company said on Thursday it would discuss forming a capital alliance with telecommunications company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) at its board meeting later in the day.
Shares of NTT slipped 0.3%. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)