Tokyo shares fall on coronavirus worries

Tokyo shares fall on coronavirus worries

It was the third straight day of moderate losses for the Nikkei

Woman walks past an electronic quotation board displaying share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (C) in Tokyo. Credit: AFP Photo

Tokyo stocks ended lower on Wednesday following losses on Wall Street, with growing concern over the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in Europe and the United States.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.29 per cent, or 67.29 points, to 23,418.51 while the broader Topix index gave up 0.31 per cent, or 4.98 points, to 1,612.55.

It was the third straight day of moderate losses for the Nikkei, although investor appetite for bargains was seen staying solid, preventing the Tokyo market from falling further.

"Investors began to suspect that the global economic recovery may take a bit longer than once believed, as the coronavirus spreads again in Europe and the United States," Okasan Online Securities said in a note to clients.

"The mood weighed on the market, which traded in negative territory from the start."

The concerns for the global outlook weighed on European and US shares overnight, SMBC Nikko Securities said, adding that "the appreciation of the yen also encouraged selling".

The dollar stood at 104.18 yen, compared with 104.41 yen in New York and 104.69 yen seen in Tokyo Tuesday.

Investor worries fuelled the selling of shares linked closely to macroeconomic conditions such as steel and chemical issues, Okasan said.

Nippon Steel fell 3.27 per cent to 1,035.5. Rival steelmaker JFE Holdings lost 4.71 per cent to 748.

But Sony added 1.83 per cent to 8,248 yen. After the closing bell, the electronics and media conglomerate announced that its six-month net profit more than doubled. It also upgraded its annual forecast as sales rose in key segments such as gaming, music and finance.

Shares related to electric vehicles also enjoyed gains on a report that China was preparing to toughen its regulations to allow only environmentally friendly vehicles on its roads by 2035.

Motor and precision equipment maker Nidec, which also produces many vehicle parts, soared 6.12 per cent to 11,095 yen.

Game giant Nintendo added 0.77 per cent to 57,470 yen. Toyota fell 0.95 per cent to 6,895 yen.

Panasonic fell 1.29 per cent to 899.4 yen.