Business / Financial Markets

Tokyo stocks sink deeper in first fiscal 2020 session

Jiji

The raging coronavirus pushed Tokyo stocks far lower in their first fiscal 2020 trading Wednesday, with the benchmark Nikkei average surrendering over 1,000 points at one point.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed at 18,065.41, down 851.60 points, or 4.50 percent, extending its losing streak to a third market day. On Tuesday, it lost 167.96 points.

The TOPIX index of all first-section issues dived 51.96 points, or 3.70 percent, to end at 1,351.08, after dropping 32.50 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market went south from the outset, in the wake of Wall Street’s downturn Tuesday amid rekindled concerns over an economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bank of Japan’s tankan quarterly survey for March, released just before the opening bell, also drove investors to sell as the closely watched report showed the first negative business sentiment index reading for large manufacturers in seven years, brokers said.

With coronavirus outbreaks in Japan and the United States, in particular, showing no signs of slowing down, stocks plunged deeper in the afternoon. Also weighed down by U.S. Dow Jones futures’ drop in off-hours trading and the yen’s rise against the dollar, the Nikkei nose-dived 1,045.39 points toward the closing.

“Uncertain about the timing of a lockdown of Tokyo, medium- to long-term investors took to the sidelines for most of the day’s session,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

On the first section, falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 2,056 to 100 while 10 issues were unchanged. Volume fell to 1.66 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.86 billion shares.

Technologies and automakers were hit hard by the stronger yen, with industrial robot producer Fanuc tumbling 6.58 percent and carmaker Honda 5.49 percent.

ANA plunged 8.30 percent on media reports that the airline will put 6,400 flight attendants on temporary leave.

Nippon Sheet Glass plummeted 7.51 percent, after the glass maker announced that it will skip dividend payments for fiscal 2019.

Among other noticeable losers were drug maker Eisai and seafood company Nippon Suisan Kaisha.

On the other hand, V-Cube, which makes video conferencing software, surged 20.91 percent, rising for the eighth consecutive session, amid growing investor appetite for telework-related stocks

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average tumbled 890 points to end at 17,820.

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