• Jiji


Tokyo stocks fell back in thin trading on Friday, as selling hit mainly cyclical issues amid persistent concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 167.44 points, or 0.86 percent, to end at 19,262.00, after climbing 291.49 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed down 4.69 points, or 0.33 percent, at 1,421.29. It advanced 19.08 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market got off to a weak start, as selling dragged down mainly cyclicals, including semiconductor-related issues, reflecting deep-rooted concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Market players were discouraged by the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s top-heaviness and falls in the two other major U.S. stock price gauges Thursday, brokers said.

Investor sentiment was battered by a news report that the first clinical trial in China of a potential drug for the coronavirus by Gilead Sciences Inc. of the United States has ended in failure.

Weighed down by a drop in Dow futures in off-hours trading, the market fluctuated within a relatively narrow range in the afternoon amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives, brokers said.

“Market participants moved to square equity-long positions ahead of the weekend,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., noted.

“Trading (in general) was lackluster,” Maki Sawada, vice president of Nomura Securities Co.’s Investment Research & Investor Services Department, said.

“Investors throughout the day adopted a wait-and-see approach before earnings releases by Japanese companies next week,” she added.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,201 to 887 in the TSE’s first section, while 81 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose to 1.327 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.172 billion shares.

Tokyo Electron, Advantest Corp. and other semiconductor-related issues dropped, after U.S. semiconductor giant Intel Corp. declined to provide a full-year earnings outlook due to uncertainties over the global economic outlook amid the virus outbreak.

Canon Inc. fell 1.26 percent, reflecting concerns over the adverse effects of the coronavirus on the company’s future earnings, although the camera-maker posted a better-than-expected operating profit in January-March, market sources said.

Among other major losers were technology investor SoftBank Group Corp. and convenience store operator FamilyMart Co.

On the other hand, drugmaker Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. rose 2.53 percent, thanks to its brisk earnings in January-March.

Also on the positive side were control equipment-maker Omron Corp. and tobacco maker Japan Tobacco Inc.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average shed 250 points to end at 19,190.