TOKYO -Japan Today
Tokyo stocks plunged Friday, with the Nikkei index briefly dropping over 3 percent, on news that Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Ukraine was on fire following an attack by Russian forces.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 591.80 points, or 2.23 percent, from Thursday at 25,985.47, after briefly dropping to its lowest intraday level since Nov. 20, 2020. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 36.86 points, or 1.96 percent, lower at 1,844.94.
Every industry category lost ground, except for marine transportation and oil and coal product issues. Major decliners included glass and ceramics product, transportation equipment and nonferrous metal issues.
The euro briefly dropped to the 126 yen range, its lowest level since February 2021, as investors sold the unit on fears over Russia’s attack on the plant. The U.S. dollar was weak in the mid-115 yen range as investors fled to the perceived safety of the Japanese currency, dealers said.
Tokyo stocks lost ground from the outset, with the Nikkei index briefly diving over 800 points and falling below the 26,000 line for the first time since Feb. 24 when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Investors unloaded a wide range of shares following reports that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was on fire after shelling by Russian troops, brokers said.
Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co, said market participants were concerned about the extent of damage from the plant fire “if radiation had leaked, including on the European economy.”
The market was also weighed down by deepening uncertainties over the Ukraine crisis after Moscow and Kyiv failed to agree on a cease-fire during negotiations on Thursday, brokers said.
Market participants are monitoring developments regarding a third round of talks between representatives of the two countries, which is expected to take place early next week, brokers said.
Concern has been growing among investors over the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expanding international sanctions on Moscow.
Crude oil futures have been rising recently on expectations that the sanctions on Russia, a major oil producer, will greatly reduce energy supplies.
The Nikkei index curbed losses slightly as investors scooped up battered shares.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Twitter that it was informed by Ukraine’s regulator that there has been no change in radiation levels at the plant.
On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,929 to 210, while 41 ended unchanged.
Air transportation issues fell on rising fuel prices as well as concerns over the impact of the Ukraine crisis on air travel. Japan Airlines lost 65 yen, or 2.9 percent, to 2,139 yen and ANA Holdings dropped 46.0 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 2,379.5 yen.
Japan Tobacco, which has a large market share in Russia, fell 57.5 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 2,114.0 yen.
Hino Motors plunged 155 yen, or 14.8 percent, to 895 yen, following reports the truck-making subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. is suspected of having submitted fraudulent emissions data to the transport ministry.
Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,529.25 million shares from Thursday’s 1,234.94 million shares.