July 3, 2020 / 3:47 AM / a month ago

Nikkei inches up; investors cautious as domestic COVID-19 cases spike

SYDNEY, July 3 (Reuters) - Japanese shares edged up on Friday as U.S. jobs data provided assurance that recovery in the world’s largest economy was well under way, though investors maintained a cautious stance a day after Tokyo reported a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The benchmark Nikkei average added 0.3% to 22,220.33 by the midday break, taking a positive cue from a record surge in U.S. June payrolls and Wall Street’s overnight rally.

However, the Nikkei was down 1.3% so far this week.

On Thursday, Japan’s capital city of Tokyo confirmed 107 fresh COVID-19 cases, its highest daily tally in two months.

Although chief cabinet secretary said there was no need to reintroduce a state of emergency, traders said some fund managers were adjusting portfolios for a possible redeployment of the virus-induced restrictions.

The so-called “stay-at-home” stocks, beneficiaries of lockdowns or other restrictions on outings, led the gains on Friday, with Nintendo Co Ltd advancing 3% and M3 Inc jumping 3.5%.

On the flipside, travel-related ANA Holdings Inc <9202.%> and Kyushu Railway Co lost 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively, while Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Co Ltd dropped 1.3%.

The broader Topix added a marginal 0.1% to 1,544.95 by the midday recess, with about two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading in negative territory, however.

Electric power companies came under pressure on media reports that the Japanese government is looking to suspend or close as many as 100 older, inefficient coal-fired power plants by around 2030.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) shed 1.5% and Shikoku Electric Power Co Ltd dropped 1.4%.

Elsewhere, the index of Mothers start-up market bounced back 2.6%, partially clawing back from a massive 5.0% slide on Thursday. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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