Business / Financial Markets

Tokyo stocks extend losses after big U.S. sell-off

Jiji

Tokyo stocks lost another ground Friday following a Wall Street sell-off the previous day, with the benchmark Nikkei average giving up more than 680 points at one point.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 167.43 points, or 0.75 percent, to end at 22,305.48, after nose-diving 652.04 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues closed down 18.24 points, or 1.15 percent, at 1,570.68, with its loss expanding from the previous day’s 35.79 points.

Stocks met with broad-based selling from the outset, in the wake of the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average plunging nearly 7 percent on Thursday amid rekindled concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Nikkei dropped 685.98 points to slip through the 22,000 threshold for the first time in some 10 days.

But after a mountain of sell orders were executed, the market saw the loss shrink with investors moving to buy the dip, brokers said.

Speculation about the Bank of Japan’s purchases of exchange-traded funds and a rise in U.S. index futures in off-hours trading also supported the market, they noted.

Observing that the Wall Street free fall was caused by renewed concerns over a second wave of novel coronavirus outbreaks, Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., pointed out that Tokyo market players’ worries about a worsening of the coronavirus situation was mitigated by the metropolitan government’s decision to further ease its business suspension requests.

“Tokyo has entered the Step 3 stage,” he said, referring to the capital’s three-stage plans to remove restrictions on economic activities.

Meanwhile, an official at a major brokerage house noted that the day’s drop should be taken as “a temporary correction” of the excessively fast market ascent since late May.

But optimism cannot be warranted as long as second-wave coronavirus concerns persist,” a midsize brokerage official said.

On the TSE’s first section, losing issues trounced winners 1,899 to 241 while 29 issues were unchanged. Volume grew to 1.904 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.679 billion shares.

Automaker Toyota, technology and entertainment giant Sony and other export-oriented issues were upset by growing uncertainties over a global economic recovery.

Financials, including megabank group Mitsubishi UFJ and insurer Tokio Marine, suffered from lower U.S. long-term interest rates.

JXTG, Idemitsu and other oil names bowed to a crude oil market slump.

Among other losers were technology investor SoftBank Group and job information service firm Recruit Holdings.

By contrast, supermarket chain Kobe Bussan jumped after announcing a brisk consolidated operating profit for November-April.

Also in the green were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and drug maker Chugai.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average fell 170 points to end at 22,140.

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