The benchmark Nikkei stock average turned sharply lower to end below 17,000 for the first time in some three years and four months on Wednesday, amid continued market turbulence caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange plunged 284.98 points, or 1.68 pct, to finish at 16,726.55, the first closing below the 17,000 threshold since Nov. 9, 2016. On Tuesday, the key market gauge edged up 9.49 points.
On the other hand, the TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues closed up 2.38 points, or 0.19 pct, at 1,270.84, after jumping 32.12 points the previous day.
The Tokyo market spurted from the outset, with sentiment brightened by the Dow Jones industrial average's 1,000-point rally on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday welcoming a one-trillion-dollar U.S. stimulus package proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
But after active buying peaked out in the early morning, stocks showed unstable movements until late afternoon, when selling pressure quickly increased to send the Nikkei deep into negative territory.
The market was supported by possible purchases of exchange-traded funds by the Bank of Japan and cash stocks by pension funds, brokers said. But selling gathered steam in late trading as U.S. stock futures widened losses in off-hours trading, they noted.