• Jiji


Tokyo stocks took a sharp downturn Friday, pressured by renewed worries that the coronavirus will soon again be raging in and outside Japan.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange tumbled 238.48 points, or 1.06 percent, to end at 22,290.81, after rising 90.64 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues dived 22.04 points, or 1.42 percent, to 1,535.20, following a 0.01-point gain the previous day.

A bunch of buy orders were placed for semiconductor-related issues after the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq composite index extending its record-breaking streak on Thursday.

But reflecting persistent concerns over the resurgent coronavirus, domestic demand-oriented stocks met with hefty selling, brokers said.

Buying sentiment was also dampened by what appeared to be moves to cash out equities to pay dividends in stock index-linked exchange-traded funds, they added.

In the afternoon, the market accelerated its downswing after media reports said over 240 new infections were identified in Tokyo, setting yet another daily record for the capital.

“Selling by short-term players hit the market while many investors were sitting on the fences to wait for the day’s release of Yaskawa Electric’s financial statement,” said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

The industrial robot producer’s March-May earnings were widely viewed as a touchstone for many major Japanese manufacturers’ performances in April-June.

The descent in the afternoon was also fueled by the Hong Kong market’s plunge, Yamamoto added.

On the TSE’s first section, losers trounced gainers 1,935 to 193 while 43 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.337 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.175 billion shares.

A drop in U.S. long-term interest rates took a toll on financials including megabank Mitsubishi UFJ and insurer Tokio Marine.

Eneos, Idemitsu and other oil stocks were battered by a slump in the crude oil market.

Clothing store chain Fast Retailing tumbled due to its dismal earnings for September-May.

Among other losers were technology investor SoftBank Group and automaker Toyota.

By contrast, technology and entertainment giant Sony jumped 1.39 percent following its announcement Thursday that it would invest in Epic Games Inc. of the United States, creator and operator of the globally popular Fortnite.

Convenience store chain FamilyMart and industrial robot producer Fanuc were also in the green.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average lost 190 points to end at 22,290.

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