JIJI – Tokyo stocks extended losses Wednesday, as investor concerns regrew over a possible escalation of the U.S.-China trade war in the wake of the U.S. Senate’s passage of a bill to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The 225-issue Nikkei average fell 144.08 points, or 0.62 percent, to end at 23,148.57. On Tuesday, the key market gauge sank 124.11 points.
The Topix index of all first-section issues of the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished off 5.62 points, or 0.33 percent, at 1,691.11, after sagging 3.99 points the previous day.
The Tokyo market got off to a weaker start, after dismal earning reports by major U.S. retailers forced the Dow Jones industrial average to snap its two-session record-breaking streak on Tuesday, brokers said.
Although “buy-the-dip” activities soon emerged to help the market recoup the initial loss, sentiment was quickly chilled around midmorning by a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement denouncing the Hong Kong human rights bill and threatening a countermeasure. The Nikkei’s loss expanded up to some 400 points in the morning.
Also weighed by poor performance of Shanghai and Hong Kong stocks, the both the Nikkei and TOPIX indexes remained deep in negative territory for the rest of the day’s session.
“Tokyo stocks suffered from swelling anxieties about a slowdown in personal spending in the United States, besides the Hong Kong bill issue,” Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Capital Partners Securities Co., said, citing in particular weak earnings results posted by leading U.S. department store operator Kohl’s Corp. and top home improvement retail chain Home Depot Inc.
“China’s harsh reaction to the bill passage fell within market expectations,” an official at a midsize brokerage house said. But the official quickly added that the retaliation threat prompted players to move to lock in profits.
On the TSE’s first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,388 to 680 while 86 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.35 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.20 billion shares.
Oil names such as JXTG and Idemitsu met with selling due to lower crude oil prices. Construction machinery maker Komatsu and industrial robot producer Fanuc were dumped along with other China-linked issues amid the trade war escalation worry.
Tire maker Bridgestone fell for the eighth session in a row. Clothing store chain Fast Retailing and technology investor Softbank Group. also lost ground.
Meanwhile, airlines JAL and ANA attracted purchases.
Also on the positive side were job information provider Recruit Holdings and insurer Tokio Marine.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average fell 150 points to end at 23,140.