TOKYO: Tokyo stocks took a beating on Thursday due to profit-taking and concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, with the benchmark Nikkei average tumbling through 19,000.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange plunged 882.03 points, or 4.51 pct, to close at 18,664.60, after surging 1,454.28 points on Wednesday to retake the 19,000 line for the first time in two weeks.
The TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues dropped 25.30 points, or 1.78 pct, to 1,399.32, following a 91.52-point climb the previous day.
Weighed down by profit-taking and concerns over the adverse effects of the spread of the new virus, which originated in China, the Tokyo market got off to a weak start, with the Nikkei briefly losing over 900 points.
Investors were concerned about the ever-spreading virus’ damage on corporate earnings, following downward revisions of earnings estimates announced on Wednesday by trading house Marubeni and electronic parts maker TDK, brokers said.
The Nikkei showed a sharper drop than the TOPIX due to plunges in technology investor Softbank Group and clothing store chain Fast Retailing, both heavily weighted components of the key index.
Aided by possible purchases of exchange-traded funds by the Bank of Japan, both indexes fluctuated within relatively narrow ranges for the majority of the afternoon.
The market then succumbed to heightened selling pressure in late trading, pushing the Nikkei down more than 1,000 points at one point.