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Nikkei dips to over 6-month low on COVID-19 spike, earnings lag

·2 min read

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average dropped to its lowest since the start of the year on Friday, with sentiment souring amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and some earnings disappointments, and weighed down by a decline U.S. stock futures.

The Nikkei ended the morning session 1.34% lower at 27,409.26, after dipping to 27,294.05, the lowest since Jan. 6.

For the month, the Nikkei is on course for a 4.8% slide, its worst since the coronavirus-induced market meltdown in March last year. A lower close today would mark an 11th straight decline on the final trading day of the month.

Meanwhile, the broader Topix sank 0.82% to 1,911.62, and was set for a 1.64% monthly fall.

S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 0.67%, while Nasdaq e-minis slumped 1.21%, after Amazon.com said after the closing bell that sales would slow in the coming quarters.

At home, Japan's government has proposed extending and expanding states of emergency in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures, Osaka in the west of the country, and the resort islands of Okinawa.

Nationwide, new infections spiked above 10,000 for the first time on Thursday, led by a record 3,865 additional cases in Tokyo, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. led declines on the Nikkei with a 10.49% tumble, after earnings undershot analysts' expectations.

Fuji Electric dropped 9.13% and Fujitsu slumped 8.98% after reporting financial results.

"The earnings weren't that bad, but in terms of the outlook, there doesn't seem to be a lot of confidence," which is weighing on stocks, said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

"The market is wary that the Nikkei could break below 27,000." (Reporting by Kevin Buckland in Tokyo;)

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