/ |

Tokyo stocks tumble on futures-led selling

JIJI

Stocks plunged Tuesday, hurt by overnight drops in U.S. equities and futures-led selling.

The Nikkei 225 average plummeted 337.37 points, or 1.43 percent, to end at 23,291.97, extending its losing streak to a fifth session. The key price index lost 2.54 points Monday.

The Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, finished 22.32 points, or 1.19 percent, lower at 1,858.13 after gaining 1.06 points Monday.

The TSE opened lower in the wake of a sharp downturn on Wall Street on Monday, brokers said.

Investor sentiment was also dampened by the yen’s continued strength against the dollar.

The market went further south in the afternoon on selling triggered by players, believed to be hedge funds, rushing to dump futures in view of the weakness of other Asian markets, brokers said.

Buying was held in check ahead of many Japanese companies releasing earnings reports, an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said, adding investors moved to square their positions to brace for key events in the United States later Tuesday, including President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

While taking a similar view, Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co., pointed out that some domestic institutional investors hunted bargains.

Falling issues overwhelmed rising ones 1,760 to 255 in the first section, while 48 issues were unchanged.

Volume jumped to 1.702 billion shares, from 1.326 billion Monday.

Hitachi Metals lost 6.02 percent following its profit warning for the year through March.

Oil companies JXTG, Cosmo Energy, Inpex and Japex were downbeat, reflecting lower crude oil prices.

Other major losers included clothing retailer Fast Retailing and industrial robot producer Fanuc.

By contrast, Hitachi Construction Machinery rose 7.02 percent thanks to its rosier profit estimate for the year ending in March.

Also on the plus side were daily goods manufacturer Kao and parcel delivery service firm Yamato Holdings.