Tokyo stocks open lower on China virus woes

AFP Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan Jan 22, 2020, 05.33 PM(IST)

People walk past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan June 20, 2017 Photograph:( Reuters )

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Investor sentiment dampened by fears over the growing spread of a new SARS-like virus.


Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday with investor sentiment dampened by fears over the growing spread of a new SARS-like virus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.06 per cent or 15.46 points to 23,849.10 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.08 per cent or 1.45 points at 1,733.52.

"Selling will likely lead trading today due to drops in US stocks, and fears over the spread of the coronavirus," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a note. Wall Street stocks retreated from records Tuesday, with tourism stocks falling due to worries about the virus, and Boeing shares hammered by the latest delay to its crisis-hit 737 MAX jet.

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Ito added that the downtrend particularly in Asia and Europe "could drag on" amid concerns that the virus will spread during the Lunar New Year holidays. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel across the country to visit family. There is also a surge in foreign travel from China. 

Heavy selling hit Mitsubishi Motors after German prosecutors searched business premises linked to the group as part of an investigation into suspected diesel emissions cheating. Mitsubishi Motors stock was down 4.62 per cent at 433 yen while Nissan, which forms a three-way alliance with Mitsubishi and France's Renault, lost 1.0 per cent to 628 yen.

Some department store operators fell on fears that the new virus may hurt travel demand. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings dropped 1.16 per cent to 933 yen and J.Front Retailing was down 1.56 per cent at 1,451 yen.
The dollar was trading at 109.89 yen against 109.83 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.