Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks continue to bleed on coronavirus fears

JIJI

Tokyo stocks fell further Monday, weighed down by unabated concerns over the new coronavirus epidemic.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 142.00 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 23,685.98, after shedding 45.61 points Friday.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed down 12.50 points, or 0.72 percent, at 1,719.64, following a 4.84-point fall the previous trading day.

Selling hit the market from the outset, with sentiment soured by a Wall Street downturn Friday after a record-breaking rally despite faster-than-expected growth in U.S. nonfarm payrolls in January.

Investors shifted to the sell side after the U.S. Federal Reserve, in its congressional report, cited the fallout from the spreading coronavirus outbreak chiefly in China as a possible economic risk, brokers said.

Toward noon, stocks cut losses thanks to buybacks induced by Chinese shares’ resilience. But trading turned lackluster in the afternoon due to a dearth of fresh incentives, they added.

“Activities subsided ahead of a national holiday Tuesday (in Japan),” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., pointed out that participants remained wary of news about the coronavirus outbreak, including a report that 60 more passengers on a cruise ship in Yokohama have been tested positive for the pneumonia-causing virus.

Ichikawa, however, noted that the downside risk posed by the epidemic on the market “is getting smaller” as governments around the world are hammering out countermeasures, including economic ones.

On the TSE’s first section, falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,494 to 588 while 77 issues were unchanged. Volume declined to 1.161 billion shares from Friday’s 1.264 billion shares.

China-related issues, such as industrial robot producer Fanuc Corp. and construction machinery-maker Komatsu, succumbed to selling pressure.

Textile-maker Toray Industries Inc. dropped 2.25 percent, as its operating profit for April-December failed to beat a market consensus.

Among other major losers were office equipment manufacturer Ricoh Co. and electronic parts producer Taiyo Yuden Co.

On the other hand, automaker Honda Motor Co. jumped 2.87 percent, thanks to its brisk earnings in April-December and rosy business outlook for the full business year through March.

Also bought were Nissan Chemical Corp. and convenience store chain FamilyMart Co.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average plunged 190 points to end at 23,640.

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