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Tokyo: Nikkei closes flat as upbeat earnings offset coronavirus woes

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[TOKYO] Japanese shares ended nearly flat on Tuesday, as strong earnings from camera and copy machine maker Canon helped counter weakness in travel and real estate stocks following a lower finish on Wall Street.

After dropping as much as 1.1 per cent in early trade, the Nikkei share average was nearly flat at 23,485.80 while the broader Topix lost 0.09 per cent to 1,617.53.

The market got support from upbeat earnings reports, with Canon jumping over 8 per cent after raising its annual earnings outlook and legal portal service operator Bengo4.com reversing course to rise 7.5 per cent on upbeat quarterly results.

Overall sentiment, however, was weaker as growing worries over a second wave of infections in the United States and Europe pressured Wall Street overnight.

Declining the most, the airline index dropped 3.7 per cent as investors focused on the kind of support airlines would get to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Japan Airlines lost 4.27 per cent as the Nikkei business daily reported it was likely to post a record net loss of about 230 billion yen (S$2.98 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2021. It is also reportedly seeking 300 billion yen in funding.

Smaller peer Star Flyer ended 0.9 per cent lower, having lost as much as 7 per cent after a report that it may sell new shares to a fund.

Railway operators also struggled, with West Japan Railway and Central Japan Railway falling around 3 per cent each.

Real estate companies Mitsubishi Fudosan and Sumitomo Realty fell 2.4 per cent and 1.75 per cent, respectively.

The Reit (real estate investment trust) index fell to a three-month low before some bargain-hunting helped it erase losses to finish nearly flat.

Shares of Nidec, which have doubled from a low hit in March, dropped 1.8 per cent even as the motor maker lifted its annual earnings estimate.

REUTERS

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