Tokyo stocks down with markets nervous on virus impact

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.14 per cent, or 33.48 points, to 23,827.73, while the broader Topix index was down 0.34 per cent, or 5.84 points, at 1,713.08. — Reuters pic
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.14 per cent, or 33.48 points, to 23,827.73, while the broader Topix index was down 0.34 per cent, or 5.84 points, at 1,713.08. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, Feb 13 ― Tokyo stocks closed lower today as another spike in the death toll from new coronavirus in hard-hit Hubei province weighed on market sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.14 per cent, or 33.48 points, to 23,827.73, while the broader Topix index was down 0.34 per cent, or 5.84 points, at 1,713.08.

Chinese authorities said the number of fatalities and new cases from China's coronavirus outbreak soared today, with 242 more deaths and nearly 15,000 extra patients in Hubei as authorities changed their threshold for diagnosis.

The announcement from China “is weighing on the sentiment of Japanese investors”, Ryuta Otsuka, chief strategist at Toyo Securities, told AFP.

“Perception among Japanese investors about ramifications of the new coronavirus on the economy seems to be fundamentally different from foreign investors.”

The weak performance in the Tokyo bourse, despite rallies in global markets including Hong Kong's Hang Seng and China's Shanghai indexes in the previous session, “is probably because investors here are talking about short-term impact” rather than long-term, he added.

“Japanese investors appear more sensitive,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.

“And they are also worried about the impact on supply chains.”

The dollar fetched ¥109.84 (RM4.14) in Asian afternoon trade, compared with ¥110.09 in New York.

In Tokyo, SoftBank Group plunged 5.09 per cent to ¥5,458 after it said net profit fell nearly 70 per cent for the nine months to December.

Major blue-chip exporters lost ground as Nintendo dropped 0.91 per cent to ¥40,190 with Toyota down 0.46 per cent at ¥7,758.

Nissan was down 1.54 per cent at ¥568.5 ahead of its third-quarter earnings report due later today.

The automaker said late Wednesday it has filed a civil lawsuit seeking ¥10 billion from former chairman Carlos Ghosn for what it called “years of his misconduct and fraudulent activity”. ― AFP

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