Tokyo stocks lost ground for the fourth straight session Thursday, beaten by spiraling fears over the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 86.57 points, or 0.37%, to close at 23,331.94, after shedding 67.29 points Wednesday.
The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 1.62 points, or 0.10%, at 1,610.93, following a 4.98-point fall the previous day.
Stocks met with selling almost across the board as soon as the market opened, forcing the benchmark Nikkei to give up some 250 points.
Sentiment was battered by a Wall Street free fall Wednesday with all three major U.S. price gauges, including the Dow Jones industrial average, tumbling around 3.5 percent on the back of sharp increases in coronavirus cases in the United States, particularly in the Midwest.
Selling was also fueled by concerns over a possible European economic slump caused by the second pandemic wave following announcements by the German and French governments of new lockdown measures.
But the market gradually cut losses in the afternoon, thanks to the popularity of stocks backed by robust earnings conditions, including tech giant Sony, and a rise in Dow futures in off-hours trading. The Topix index popped into the sunny side at one point.
“The resilience reflected investors’ view that Japan has so far succeeded in containing an explosive coronavirus outbreak,” said Kazuo Kamitani, Nomura Securities Co.’s senior associate at the Investment Research & Investor Services Department.
An official at an asset management firm said some players renewed buying in anticipation of the Bank of Japan’s purchases of exchange-traded funds.
Meanwhile, the central bank’s announcement of its decision to leave its massive easing policy intact little affected the market, other sources said.
On the first section, decliners overwhelmed gainers 1,330 to 747 with 100 issues unchanged. Volume fell to 1.012 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.183 billion shares.
Inpex and other oil stocks suffered from a crude oil price fall.
Railway operator JR Central and restaurant booking website operator Gurunavi succumbed to heavy selling pressure stemming from their hefty operating loss estimates for the current business year ending next March.
Among other major losers were Hitachi Construction Machinery and silicon wafer producer Shin-Etsu Chemical.
On the other hand, Sony surged 6.69 percent after revising up its operating and net profit projections for the same year.
Game-maker Konami and pharmaceutical firm Daiichi Sankyo rose as well.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average lost 100 points to end at 23,320.
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