• Jiji


Tokyo stocks dived Thursday in the wake of a U.S. market plunge.

The Nikkei average of 225 first-section issues of the Tokyo Stock Exchange gave up 437.79 points, or 1.53%, to close at 28,197.42. On Wednesday, the benchmark index climbed 89.03 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 21.22 points, or 1.14%, at 1,838.85 after advancing 12.07 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market succumbed to hefty profit-taking pressure right after the opening bell, with the Nikkei losing more than 600 points to slip below the psychologically important threshold of 28,000 in the first few minutes.

Sell orders mounted after all three major U.S. stock indexes, including the Dow Jones industrial average, plummeted by over 2% on Wednesday, brokers said.

After the initial sell-off, the Tokyo market showed some resilience thanks to renewed buying in anticipation of rosy earnings reports by Japanese and U.S. companies.

But continued selling to lock in gains forced both the Nikkei and Topix indexes to remain in negative terrain.

Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., pointed out that “expectations for the Bank of Japan’s purchases of exchange-traded funds helped the market pare losses in the morning.”

Falls in other Asian stock markets, however, put downward pressure on Tokyo stocks together with profit-taking in the afternoon, another market source said.

“Sentiment was dampened by growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic’s further adverse economic impacts in response to media reports that global cases surpassed 100 million Wednesday,” a brokerage house strategist said.

On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,192 to 912, while 85 issues were unchanged. Volume surged to 2.137 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.159 billion shares.

Stocks in the semiconductor sector, such as testing device manufacturer Advantest and production equipment-maker Tokyo Electron, were hit by a plunge in the SOX Philadelphia semiconductor index.

Other major loses included medical information provider M3 and air conditioner-maker Daikin.

On the other hand, electronic parts maker NOK rocketed 14.86% thanks to upward revisions to its earnings forecasts for the year through March.

Rakuten surged 7.53% following media reports that payments with its credit cards reached ¥11 trillion in 2020.

Advertising giant Dentsu and department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi also rose.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average tumbled 590 points to end at 28,050.

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