Japan’s key 225-issue Nikkei average fell for the first time in three days Friday, due to waves of profit-taking and concerns over the ever-spreading novel coronavirus.
The index of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 43.28 points, or 0.16%, to close at 26,763.39. On Thursday, the index advanced 49.27 points.
Meanwhile, the Topix index of all first section issues inched up 0.66 point, or 0.04%, to end at 1,793.24 after a 5.75-point rise the previous day. The index managed to extend its winning streak to a third day.
After opening slightly lower, the Nikkei average rose to the positive side intermittently reflecting a halt in the yen’s strengthening. But it moved in negative territory for most of the morning session, battered by selling that hit some of the index’s heavily weighted components.
The downside of the Tokyo market was firm after all three major U.S. stock indexes, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rewrote their record closing highs Thursday on the back of hopes for an agreement on a coronavirus relief package in the United States, brokers said.
The Nikkei, however, remained on the negative side in the afternoon session, with the market hit by profit-taking and selling induced by a fall in Dow Jones futures in off-hours trading.
The Topix was marginally higher at the finish, after fluctuating around the previous day’s closing.
Throughout the day, the market was pressured by concerns over the coronavirus situation in Japan after 822 infection cases were newly confirmed in Tokyo on Thursday, a record daily high for the country’s capital, market sources said.
“In the afternoon, stocks were also weighed down by position-adjusting selling ahead of the weekend,” an asset manager said.
Investors reacted little to the Bank of Japan’s decision at its two-day monetary policy meeting that ended Friday, brokers said.
The BOJ Policy Board kept the central bank’s easing regime unchanged while deciding to extend its measures to help the Japanese economy weather the coronavirus fallout for six months until the end of September 2021.
The BOJ said that it will consider further extending the measures if necessary depending on the coronavirus situation and that it will “conduct an assessment for further effective and sustainable monetary easing” with a view to supporting the economy and achieving its price stability target of 2%.
On the TSE first section, falling issues slightly outnumbered rising ones 1,079 to 1,008 while 97 issues were unchanged. Volume rose to 1.296 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.140 billion shares.
Leading automaker Toyota and other major issues succumbed to profit-taking.
Semiconductor names, including Tokyo Electron, also came under selling pressure.
Among other major losers were medical information provider M3 and control equipment-maker Omron.
On the other hand, technology and entertainment giant Sony advanced 2.29%, backed by expectations for a surge in demand for its PlayStation 5 video game console toward Christmas thanks to the continuing trend to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 30 points to 26,740.
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