Tokyo stocks nose-dived Thursday, as investors rushed to lock in profits amid re-kindled fears of the spread of a new deadly coronavirus.
The 225-issue Nikkei average on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 235.91 points, or 0.98 percent, to end at 23,795.44, after climbing 166.79 points Wednesday.
The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed down 13.63 points, or 0.78 percent, at 1,730.50, following a 9.16-point rise the previous day.
The Tokyo market came under strong profit-taking pressure immediately after the opening bell.
Sentiment was chilled by fresh dismal news related to the new coronavirus, including on ever-rising death and patient numbers in the viral outbreak in China and on the lockdown of Wuhan, a major Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, brokers said.
The yen’s strengthening against the dollar also boosted stock selling, they added.
Following the initial tumble, however, the market showed some resilience thanks to buybacks and “buy the dip” activities. But it remained deep in negative territory until the closing due also to falls in the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets.
Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co., noted that investors find it better refraining from stepping up buying as long as the source of the outbreak remains mystery and the negative effects of the epidemic are yet to become fully clear.
“Market participants wanted to see how far the infection would spread,” added Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.
Yamamoto also said active transactions were held in check in the afternoon ahead of electronic parts maker Nidec Corp.’s earnings report later Thursday.
On the TSE’s first section, falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,660 to 433, while 66 issues were unchanged. Volume inched up to 1.049 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.001 billion shares.
Export-oriented issues, including chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and electronics parts maker Murata Manufacturing Co., succumbed to selling pressure from the stronger yen.
Rakuten Inc. plunged 3.80 percent, after Japan’s Fair Trade Commission said it would look into the cybermall operator’s plan to scrap delivery fees.
Denso Corp. dropped 2.38 percent on media reports that its German foothold was raided by local authorities as part of their emissions cheating investigation against Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
Among other major losers were printer-maker Seiko Epson Corp. and medical information services provider M3 Inc.
On the other hand, Capcom Co. rose 1.23 percent thanks to Mizuho Securities Co. raising its target stock price for the game-maker.
Other winners included drugmaker Eisai Co. and furniture retailer Nitori Holdings Co.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 270 points to 23,750.