• Jiji


Tokyo stocks turned down Wednesday on profit-taking particularly hitting hard technology-oriented shares, forcing the benchmark Nikkei average to close below 30,000 for the first time in seven market days.

The 225-issue Nikkei average sank 484.33 points, or 1.61%, to close at 29,671.70, taking a downturn from a 138.11-point rise on Monday. The Tokyo market was closed Tuesday for a national holiday.

The Topix index of all first section issues ended down 35.28 points, or 1.82%, at 1,903.07, after gaining 9.40 points the previous trading day.

The market headed south from the outset, as stocks in the semiconductor and other technology sectors drew heavy selling to lock in gains following the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq composite index’s drop on Tuesday.

Investors moved to buy the dip later in the morning in response to the Nikkei’s fall below the major psychological threshold of 30,000. But a decline in U.S. index futures in off-hours trading sent the market deep in negative terrain in the afternoon.

“Technology shares are likely to continue to go through minor corrections for a while,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

Those stocks would remain under selling pressure as long as U.S. President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package and infrastructure investment plan, slated to be unveiled next month, help lift U.S. long-term interest rates, he noted.

Meanwhile, Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co., pointed out that the government’s reported plans to lift its coronavirus state of emergency in western and central Japan propped up issues sensitive to developments associated with the novel virus.

On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,523 to 605 while 66 issues stayed unchanged. Volume jumped to 1.570 billion shares from Monday’s 1.250 billion shares.

In the beaten semiconductor sector, silicon wafer producer Shin-Etsu Chemical tumbled 4.35% and chipmaking gear-maker Tokyo Electron sank 2.74%.

Tech investor SoftBank Group and medical information provider M3 plunged as well.

Cryptocurrency-related stocks, such as online brokerage Monex Group and information technology service company GMO Internet, met with selling after bitcoin’s bull-run came to a halt.

On the other hand, department stores, airlines and other coronavirus-sensitive names were broadly sought on hopes for the partial lifting of the state of emergency.

Travel agencies H.I.S. and KNT-CT Holdings, in particular, soared 8.41% and 7.61%, respectively, on speculation that the “Go To Travel” tourism promotion campaign would be resumed swiftly.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average shed 530 points to end at 29,640.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.