• Jiji


Tokyo stocks came under profit-taking pressure Monday, with the benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average falling for the second market day.

The Nikkei shed 48.97 points, or 0.18%, to close at 26,714.42. On Friday, the benchmark index dropped 43.28 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues fell 4.19 points, or 0.23%, to end at 1,789.05, after gaining 0.66 point the previous trading day.

Stocks jumped at the outset, in the wake of media reports that a much-awaited novel coronavirus relief deal was struck in the United States. The Nikkei gained more than 140 points in minutes after the opening.

But active buying lost steam soon, and both indexes fell into negative territory later in the morning due to reinvigorated selling to lock in gains. Other Asian markets’ weak openings also dampened sentiment, brokers said.

The market went sideways in the afternoon amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

“Stocks could not move much either way as they were sandwiched between selling out of unabated fears over the novel coronavirus pandemic and buying on hopes for the spread of coronavirus vaccination,” said Maki Sawada, vice president of Nomura Securities Co.’s Investment Research & Investor Services Department.

The pandemic fears heightened after Britain imposed a fresh lockdown on London on Sunday due to the detection of a highly infectious mutant strain of the virus, Sawada noted.

On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization Friday of Moderna Inc.’s vaccine for emergency use boosted optimism for the fight against the virus, she added.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,237 to 842, while 105 issues were unchanged. Volume decreased to 1.042 billion shares from Friday’s 1.296 billion shares.

Furniture retailer Nitori was among major victims to profit-taking.

The renewed pandemic concerns made Oriental Land, the operator of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks, bleed 2.26%.

Game makers Nexon and Konami also fell.

Sumitomo Electric climbed 4.23% after a news report that the company will boost production of fiber optic cables to meet growing network demand.

Noticeable winners also included housing and wood products supplier Sumitomo Forestry and insecticide manufacturer Earth.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 90 points to 26,650.

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