Nikkei down more than 2.2% on profit-taking

Tokyo's Nikkei down more than 2.2% on profit-taking

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 2.27 percent, or 451.06 points, to close at 19,416.06, while the broader Topix index was down 1.53 percent, or 21.56 points, at 1,385.12.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index dropped more than 2.2 percent Wednesday on profit-taking as trading remained volatile, with investors nervously watching news related to the new coronavirus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 2.27 percent, or 451.06 points, to close at 19,416.06, while the broader Topix index was down 1.53 percent, or 21.56 points, at 1,385.12.

Tokyo stocks opened lower as investors locked in profits a day after they bounced back from Monday's five percent drop.

"Investors cashed in the previous day's gain," said Daiwa Securities chief technical analyst Eiji Kinouchi.

"It's like a circle of profit-taking and bargain-hunting," Kinouchi told AFP.

"Trading is expected to remain volatile for now" as investors continue closely monitoring news related to the virus, he added.

The dollar fetched 104.32 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 105.55 yen in New York and 104.77 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

"COVID-19 headlines continue to be on the negative side," said Tapas Strickland, senior analyst at National Australia Bank, referring to the spread of the coronavirus in Italy and the United States.

On Tuesday, Wall Street stocks finished a roller-coaster session sharply higher as oil prices bounced while the Trump administration continued to promise relief measures to offset the economic hit from coronavirus.

"But some investors are sceptical about how quickly Trump can realise such massive tax cut measures," Kinouchi said.

In Tokyo, Sony plunged 4.26 percent to 6,145 yen with Panasonic down 1.26 percent at 874.8 yen.

Honda lost 1.35 percent to 2,508 yen despite announcing it would resume production of four-wheel vehicles at its plant in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the new coronavirus, from Wednesday.

Its bigger rival Toyota was down 0.98 percent at 6,535 yen but Nissan was up 0.87 percent at 403.4 yen.

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