Japan stocks fall on virus woes, but M&As lift some industrials

By Stanley White
TOKYO, Feb. 6 / PRNewswire / - Japanese stocks fell Thursday as concerns over a surge in domestic coronavirus infections and a possible return of restrictions on economic activity pushed investors to make gains on recent gains.
The Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.38% to 29,618.93 from 0203 GMT, while the broader Topix fell 0.85% to 1,950.57.
Tokyo governor is considering taking immediate action to respond to a sudden surge in coronavirus infections and the spread of a new variant of the virus, according to local media.
The western city of Osaka will also declare a medical emergency after the number of new infections rose to a record high, which has raised the alarm among health officials.
Reduced hours of operation for restaurants and shops, designed to slow the rate of infection, could hinder economic growth. In addition, an increasing number of analysts are expressing concerns about Japan's slow vaccination against the coronavirus.
"Japanese stocks could slow compared to other markets," said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co.
"The markets place great value on the level of fiscal incentives and the vaccination rate. Any further restrictions would be a negative factor as it would delay a recovery in service consumption."
The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd with a loss of 2.85%, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc with a loss of 2.41%.
On the positive side, Hitachi Metals Ltd rose 4.36% after the Nikkei newspaper reported that a Bain Capital-led group emerged as the preferred bidder for a 53% stake in the company valued at approximately $ 7.3 billion .
Parent company Hitachi Ltd's shares fell 1.03%.
Toshiba Corp was up 1.21% per day after CVC Capital Partners received a $ 20 billion offer to take it privately. In the previous session, Toshiba's shares rose by their daily limit to their highest level in more than four years. (Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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