TOKYO – Japan Today
Tokyo stocks ended lower Friday as sentiment was weighed down by deepening uncertainty over Japan’s economic recovery as the country moves to implement a quasi-state of emergency across additional prefectures.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 250.67 points, or 0.90 percent, from Thursday at 27,522.26. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 11.35 points, or 0.59 percent, lower at 1,927.18.
Decliners were led by mining, transportation equipment, and oil and coal product issues.
The U.S. dollar edged down into the upper 113 yen range as investors fled to the perceived safety of the yen on the drops in U.S. and Tokyo stocks, dealers said.
The Tokyo stock market headed lower from the outset, pulling the Nikkei index briefly down over 2 percent, or 600 points, as technology issues tracked an overnight decline by U.S. counterparts. Sentiment was also weighed down by weak U.S. stock futures and falls in some Asian markets.
Meanwhile, concerns over Japan’s economic recovery pressured stocks after additional prefectures, including Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, said Thursday they would ask the central government to place them under a coronavirus quasi-state of emergency amid the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Of Japan’s 47 prefecture, 16 including Tokyo have already been under the emergency that allows governors to ask restaurants and bars to close early and stop or limit the serving of alcohol.
“Investors are concerned that the recent surge in infections will stall economic recovery as manufacturers such as Toyota Motor have been forced to temporarily close factories,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co, adding that the stronger yen was an additional negative factor.
But losses were trimmed in the afternoon as market participants scooped up shares as the Nikkei index neared the 27,000 mark, he said.
Investors also braced for hawkish moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve ahead of its two-day policy meeting next week as Treasury yields continue to hover at a high level, brokers said.
On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,170 to 920, while 94 ended unchanged.
Among tech shares, Kyocera dropped 55 yen, or 0.8 percent, to 6,780 yen, while TDK fell 85 yen, or 2.0 percent, to 4,150 yen.
Export-oriented shares including automakers were hit by the yen strengthening against the U.S. dollar. Mazda Motor sagged 32 yen, or 3.4 percent, to 911 yen, and Mitsubishi Motors moved down 12 yen, or 3.7 percent, to 310 yen.
Toyota Motor declined 58.0 yen, or 2.5 percent, to 2,284.5 yen as the automaker plans to halt operations at up to 11 factories in Japan for three days this month due to supply chain bottlenecks caused by the pandemic, as well as semiconductor shortages.
Toyota’s domestic output for January is expected to fall by around 47,000 vehicles.
Trading volume on the main section fell to 1,235.00 million shares from Thursday’s 1,282.47 million shares.