Tokyo stocks down with wary eyes on virus

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index opened higher, but soon dipped into negative territory, trading down 0.55 per cent or 147.47 points at 26,615.92 about an hour after the opening bell. — Reuters pic
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index opened higher, but soon dipped into negative territory, trading down 0.55 per cent or 147.47 points at 26,615.92 about an hour after the opening bell. — Reuters pic

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TOKYO, Dec 21 — Tokyo stocks traded lower today as investors weighed the impact of spreading Covid-19 infections on the economy against the positive effects of new US and Japanese stimulus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index opened higher, but soon dipped into negative territory, trading down 0.55 per cent or 147.47 points at 26,615.92 about an hour after the opening bell.

The broader Topix index was down 0.62 per cent or 11.19 points at 1,782.05.

Shortly before the Tokyo market opened, US lawmakers reached a deal for a nearly US$900 billion Covid-19 relief package for millions of Americans as the nation struggles against the world’s largest outbreak of the virus.

At home, the Japanese government will likely approve a record ¥106.6 trillion (RN4.17 trillion) budget for the fiscal year starting April including measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on society.

The US deal is “prompting purchases, but concerns over a rise in new cases of coronavirus infection at home and abroad are weighing on the market,” Mizuho Securities said in a note.

Trade lacked a clear sense of direction as investors weighed both the positive and negative factors, analysts said.

The dollar fetched ¥103.40 in early Asian trade, against ¥103.28 in New York late Friday.

In Tokyo, Sony was up 1.22 per cent at ¥10,380 but game giant Nintendo was down 1.68 per cent at 65,600 and Toyota was down 0.81 per cent at ¥7,847.

Shipping firms were among losers, with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines dipping 2.83 per cent to ¥3,095 and Nippon Yusen trading down 0.85 per cent at ¥2,331.

On Friday, Wall Street stocks declined, retreating from records, with the Dow ending down 0.4 per cent at 30,179.05. — AFP

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