• Jiji


Tokyo stocks took a sharp downturn Friday, hit by selling ignited by a fallback on Wall Street and activated by profit-taking ahead of the spring holidays in Japan.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange tumbled 574.34 points, or 2.84 percent, to end at 19,619.35, after surging 422.50 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues plunged 32.77 points, or 2.24 percent, to 1,431.26, after adding 14.88 points the previous day.

Stocks continued to slide in the morning, with selling taking the upper hand in the wake of pullbacks in all three major U.S. stock price gauges, including the Dow Jones industrial average, on Thursday.

Investor sentiment was dampened by reports on dismal U.S. economic indicators such as a high level of weekly jobless claims and a record fall in personal consumption in March, brokers said.

Unabated selling to lock in profits before the start of the Golden Week holidays through May 6 and a fall in Dow futures in off-hours trading forced both the Nikkei and Topix to remain deep in negative terrain in the afternoon, they added.

Besides the U.S. macroeconomic data, Apple Inc.'s failure to show a revenue forecast for April-June made investors back off, Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., noted.

"Moreover, foreign players' moved to sell stocks in response to media reports that the Japanese government will extend the state of emergency over the coronarvius outbreak by some one month beyond Wednesday," he said.

On the first section, falling issues overwhelmed rising ones 1,807 to 324 while 40 issues were unchanged. Volume decreased to 1.364 billion shares from Thursday's 1.717 billion shares.

Financials, including mega-bank group Mitsubishi UFJ and insurer Tokio Marine, bled on their U.S. peers' drops.

Kose plunged 6.17 percent, after the cosmetics maker's operating profit estimate for the full business year ending next March failed to beat a market consensus.

Chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron plummeted 5.51 percent for skipping earnings forecasts for the same year.

Drug maker Eisai and automaker Toyota were also among major losers.

A handful of winners included utility Tokyo Gas and Z Holdings, parent of internet service provider Yahoo Japan.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average fell 430 points to end at 19,630.

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