Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei slides 418 points on rekindled fears about global growth

JIJI

Stocks nose-dived on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday as worries about a slowdown in global growth re-emerged.

The 225-issue Nikkei average slid 418.11 points, or 2.01 percent, to end at 20,333.17. On Thursday, the key market gauge sagged 122.78 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues fell 29.63 points, or 1.89 percent, to end at 1,539.40. It fell 13.10 points the previous day.

Both indexes began to dive right after the opening bell and continued to sink deeper into negative territory, following sell-offs in the European and U.S. markets.

Concerns about the course of the global economy were rekindled by comments by a White House official and U.S. President Donald Trump that dashed hopes of the U.S. and China ending their trade war anytime soon, brokers said.

Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow indicated in a television program that Washington and Beijing are still far apart. And Trump said he would not meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, before the early March dispute settlement deadline.

Investor sentiment was also chilled by news that the European Union has slashed its growth outlook for the euro area, brokers added.

“Stocks were rising on expectations for progress in the U.S.-China trade negotiations, but such expectations have now diminished,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said European players seemed to be selling Japanese shares in afternoon trading as part of efforts to reduce the weighting of stocks in their portfolios amid a heightened risk-off mood.

Moreover, investors refrained from buying in the midst of the earnings season and ahead of the three-day weekend in Japan, Otani said. The market will be closed on Monday for a national holiday.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,801 to 288 on the TSE’s first section, while 38 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1.463 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.250 billion shares.

China-linked issues met with heavy selling. Industrial robot producers Yaskawa Electric and Fanuc plunged 6.92 percent and 3.99 percent, respectively, and construction machinery maker Komatsu lost 2.97 percent.

Chemical maker Asahi Kasei tumbled 6.94 percent following a dive the previous day.

Other major losers included daily goods manufacturer Kao and drugmaker Eisai.

On the other hand, Sony surged 4.10 percent after announcing a share buyback plan.

Fujifilm Holdings gained 3.02 percent thanks to a hefty rise in operating profit in April-December.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average gave up 430 points to end at 20,290.