Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks plunge on position-adjustment selling

JIJI

Stocks fell sharply on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, hurt by selling to adjust positions ahead of the weekend.

The 225-issue Nikkei average tumbled 300.31 points, or 1.33 percent, to end at 22,298.08, the lowest finish since July 12. It lost 45.92 points on Thursday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues shed 20.00 points, or 1.15 percent, to 1,720.16, after sagging 4.55 points the previous day.

Buying was held in check as investors waited for the outcome of new Japan-U.S. ministerial trade talks that kicked off in Washington on Thursday, market sources said.

The market accelerated its downswing in the afternoon due chiefly to the sluggishness of Chinese equities, with the Nikkei average briefly giving up over 320 points, according to the sources.

An official of an asset management firm said that market participants sold mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group and other issues that have done well this week to square their positions before the weekend.

Buying on dips failed to support the market’s downside amid thin trading, the official also said.

Brokers said futures-led selling helped push down the key market indexes in the afternoon.

Semiconductor-related names lost ground after their U.S. peers fell on Thursday, according to Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,541 to 491 in the TSE’s first section, while 72 issues were unchanged.

Volume grew to 1.51 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.31 billion shares.

Tokyo Electron, Sumco, Shin-Etsu Chemical and other semiconductor-related issues were downbeat.

Suruga Bank met with heavy selling after announcing dismal earnings for April-June on Thursday.

Other major losers included SoftBank Group and cosmetics maker Shiseido.

By contrast, Fujifilm Holdings attracted purchases after disclosing an own share buyback plan on Thursday.

Automaker Suzuki was buoyant a day after its plunge stemming from news about the discovery of improper emissions tests for new vehicles.

Also on the plus side were oil company Showa Shell and advertising agency Dentsu.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average plummeted 300 points to 22,300.