Tokyo stocks sank Tuesday, with economically sensitive cyclicals particularly hit hard by selling amid rekindled concerns over a coronavirus resurgence.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange gave up 235.41 points, or 0.81%, to 28,812.61, after edging down 18.16 points Monday.
The Topix index of all first section issues finished down 16.19 points, or 0.82%, at 1,949.48, in a turnaround from a 3.02-point rise the previous day.
Stocks nosedived right after the opening bell, with sentiment chilled by the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average’s fallback Monday and renewed fears about another wave of coronavirus infections in Japan led by the delta variant, which first spread in India.
Downbeat Dow futures in off-hours trading also fueled selling of Tokyo stocks.
After the initial plunge, however, the market resisted falling further, supported by purchases of some technology-oriented shares in the wake of rises in the U.S. Nasdaq composite index and the Philadelphia semiconductor index Monday.
The Nikkei and the Topix both went sideways in negative terrain in the afternoon amid a dearth of market-moving news.
Kazuo Kamitani, strategist at Nomura Securities Co., pointed to active selling of shares, such as airlines and railways, that went up late last month on hopes for economic normalization in step with COVID-19 vaccination progress.
“Players are bracing for a fifth pandemic wave,” Kamitani said.
Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc., attributed to the day’s plunge to “a lack of major reasons to buy.”
The ex-dividend day effect and mysterious “month-end anxiety” can also be blamed, he added.
The Nikkei has been suffering major losses for unknown reasons in month-end trading since September last year.
On the TSE first section, decliners overwhelmed gainers 1,689 to 420 while 76 issues were unchanged. Volume rose to 1.034 billion shares from Monday’s 870 million shares.
Tech investor SoftBank Group and clothing retail chain Fast Retailing, both heavily weighted components of the Nikkei, dropped 2.15% and 1.20%, respectively.
Airline JAL fell by 2.30% and peer ANA by 1.56%. Railway operators JR East and JR West went down as well.
Steel-makers and material producers soured along with other cyclicals.
A drop in U.S. long-term interest rates pushed down megabank group Mitsubishi UFJ and other financials.
On the other hand, Shimamura jumped 4.74% after the clothing retailer reported record-breaking sales and operating profit for March-May.
Air conditioner-maker Daikin and medical information provider M3 enjoyed sound gains.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average dropped 190 points to end at 28,760.
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