• Jiji


Tokyo stocks turned lower on Thursday, weighed down by profit-taking and concerns over the new coronavirus situation in Japan.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 175.14 points, or 0.76 percent, to end at 22,770.36, after gaining 358.49 points on Wednesday.

The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues lost 10.45 points, or 0.66 percent, to close at 1,579.06, following a 24.36-point rise the previous day.

Failing to absorb profit-taking pressure after the previous day’s surge, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes suffered a weak start, although all three major U.S. stock indexes rose on Wednesday.

Fears over another halt in economic activities in Japan mounted in the early afternoon in response to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s remarks that the capital is likely to report a record number of daily coronavirus cases of 280 or more for Thursday, sending the market deeper into negative territory, brokers said.

Discouraged by drops in Chinese stocks, the key Tokyo market indexes fluctuated far below Wednesday’s closing levels for the rest of the afternoon.

Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., noted that the Tokyo market the day before “already factored in” the news about Moderna Inc.’s potential coronavirus vaccine showing promising results in early tests, which pushed up the U.S. market on Wednesday.

“Investors, instead, moved to sell stocks to lock in profits, with the Nikkei approaching the 23,000 line,” Ichikawa said.

Pointing to the Nikkei’s top-heavy moves this week, Ichikawa added, “Many market players see a resistance line at 23,000.”

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,387 to 721 in the TSE’s first section, while 63 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.475 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.245 billion shares.

Semiconductor-related issues, including Tokyo Electron and Advantest, succumbed to heavy selling, reflecting weak performances of their U.S. peers on Wednesday.

Nachi-Fujikoshi plunged 5.10 percent, after the machine tool maker’s operating profit between December 2019 and May 2020 failed to meet market expectations.

Drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo and technology investor SoftBank Group also went down.

On the other hand, Furukawa Electric rose 4.87 percent, thanks to Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.’s upward revision to its target stock price for the company.

Among other major winners were system integration service provider NTT Data and technology and entertainment giant Sony.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average gave up 190 points to end at 22,760.

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