Tokyo stocks close lower ahead of virus state of emergency


Tokyo | AFP

Tokyo stocks closed lower Friday ahead of a new virus state of emergency set to be declared in Japan’s capital and three other parts of the country.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.57 percent or 167.54 points to end at 29,020.63. It dropped 2.23 percent over the week.

The broader Topix index slipped 0.39 percent or 7.52 points to 1,914.98, and sank 2.34 percent from a week earlier.

Reports that US President Joe Biden will hike a tax on capital gains for wealthy people had driven the Tokyo market down after overnight falls in New York, Okasan Online Securities said.

Okasan’s senior strategist Rikiya Takebe said traders were also anticipating an evening press conference by Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, where he is expected to announce emergency restrictions.

“The economic damage of the state of emergency for four prefectures is projected to be 1 to 1.5 trillion yen,” Takebe said.

The measures will ask businesses that serve alcohol to shut or stop serving alcohol between April 25 to May 11, and will also shutter major commercial facilities.

Japan’s core consumer price index that excludes fresh food was down 0.1 percent in March year-on-year, the eighth consecutive monthly decline, the internal affairs ministry said before the opening bell.

The figure, which compared with market expectations of a 0.2 percent decline, did not prompt a strong market reaction.

In Tokyo trading, market heavyweight SoftBank Group lost 0.94 percent to 10,005 yen while Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing dipped 0.37 percent to 87,490 yen.

Panasonic plunged 3.46 percent to 1,309 yen after Bloomberg reported that the company was nearing a deal to acquire US artificial intelligence software developer Blue Yonder.

ANA Holdings jumped 3.38 percent to 2,369.5 yen. The airline operator has revised up its full-year net loss forecast from 510 billion yen to 405 billion yen, it announced after the closing bell.

Toyota dropped 1.08 percent to 8,277 yen while Honda fell 0.58 percent to 3,233 yen. Nissan climbed 0.21 percent to 551.2 yen.

The dollar fetched 107.89 yen in Asian trade, against 107.94 yen in New York late Thursday.


© Agence France-Presse