Tokyo stocks open lower with eyes on local virus cases


Photo: AFP

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Monday after sharp rallies last week on hopes for a phased reopening of the US economy, with investor focus now on the number of local virus cases.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 1.21 percent or 241.13 points at 19,656.13 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.58 percent or 8.38 points at 1,434.16.

In Japan, the number of coronavirus case topped 10,000 on Saturday, and "this week the government is expected to study the effect of its request to refrain from going out", which was expanded to the whole country on Thursday, Daiwa Securities said in a commentary.

Whether the government will extend the state of emergency period beyond May 6 is in focus, and investors "will be watching the number of domestic cases this week", it said.

The dollar fetched 107.78 yen in early Asian trade, against 107.59 yen in New York late Friday.

In Tokyo, exporters and domestic demand-linked shares were lower alike, with optical precision maker Olympus trading down 2.21 percent at 1705.6 yen, Honda off 1.01 percent at 2444.5 yen, Canon down 1.73 percent at 2,221 yen, and real estate firm Mitsui Fudosan down 2.72 percent at 1,787 yen.

Ten minutes before the opening bell, official data showed Japan's trade surplus dived 99 percent in March from a year earlier as coronavirus woes hit exports to its major trading partners.

In New York, the Dow ended up 3.0 percent at 24,242.49.