Business / Financial Markets

Nikkei sheds 517 points to sink below 22,000 on coronavirus jitters

Jiji

The Nikkei average shed over 500 points to finish below 22,000 for the first time in two weeks on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Monday, with investor sentiment battered by the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus in and outside Japan.

The key Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the TSE’s first section dived 517.04 points, or 2.30 percent, to end at 21,995.04. It last closed below 22,000 on June 15. On Monday, the key market gauge rose 252.29 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished down 28.15 points, or 1.78 percent, at 1,549.22, after adding 15.52 points the previous trading day.

A wide range of issues came under heavy selling pressure from the outset of Monday’s trading after the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average fell over 2.8 percent on Friday on growing concerns over a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the country.

Sentiment was also dampened by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s announcement Sunday that 60 new coronavirus patients were confirmed in Tokyo on the day, the largest single-day infection number in the capital since the lifting of the national state of emergency declaration for COVID-19 on May 25, brokers said.

The Tokyo market accelerated its downswing in the afternoon, as Asian stock markets, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, fared poorly, they said.

“Selling picked up steam on concerns over a further drop on Wall Street” amid the persistent spread of COVID-19 in the United States and the reimposition of business restrictions in some U.S. states, said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

Another brokerage official said, “A wave of position-adjustment selling by foreign investors pushed down the Tokyo market.”

Also weighing on Tokyo equities were growing concerns over a further intensification of the U.S.-China conflict, with national security laws for Hong Kong seen being enacted in China by Tuesday, brokers said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,618 to 506 in the TSE’s first section, while 40 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1.249 billion shares from Friday’s 1.137 billion shares.

Automaker Toyota, technology giant Sony and other export-oriented issues met with selling amid rising coronavirus concerns in the United States and other countries.

Oil names such as Eneos and Cosmo Energy fell due to a drop in crude oil prices.

Among other losers were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and technology investor SoftBank Group.

Meanwhile, drugstore chain Sugi Holdings attracted purchases after announcing brisk earnings for March-May.

Also on the positive side were parcel delivery firm Yamato Holdings and Tokyo Gas.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average lost 370 points to end at 22,050.

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