Japanese shares recoup losses; hopes of BOJ-buying support
TOKYO, July 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares recouped early losses to end higher on Monday as expectations that the central bank would purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offset weak data that showed the country's exports suffered a double-digit decline for the fourth month.
The benchmark Nikkei share average .N225 ended 0.09% higher at 22,717.48, clawing back from negative territory in early trade. There were 114 advancers in the Nikkei index against 105 decliners.
Traders speculated that the Bank of Japan would buy ETFs to support a weak morning session.
Official data showed Japan's exports slumped 26.2% in June from a year earlier, bigger than the 24.9% decline expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
Shares of export-oriented automakers underperformed as the data indicated a huge annual decline in U.S.-bound automobile exports.
Suzuki Motor Corp 7269.T slipped 3.64%, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T and Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T were down 3.0% and 1.77%, respectively.
Nearly half of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading higher, with securities .ISECU.T, machinery .IMCHN.T and electric machiner .IELEC.T leading advancers on the main bourse.
Fujitsu Ltd 6702.T led the largest percentage gainer, spiking 3.96% after the Nikkei business daily reported that the British government named Fujitsu and NEC Corp 6701.T as potential alternative suppliers to Huawei to help build its 5G wireless networks.
Investors remained cautious about rising coronavirus cases, as more than 14.38 million people have been reported to be infected by the virus globally and 601,961 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Elsewhere, transportation and tourism stocks underperformed as Japan's travel subsidy campaign, which is set to begin on Wednesday, sparked coronavirus concerns.
ANA Holdings 9202.T shedded 3.21%, while travel agency H.I.S. Co Ltd 9603.T dipped 4.08%
The broader Topix .TOPX added 0.2% to 1,577.03.
(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)