TOKYO: Tokyo stocks fell precipitously on Friday morning, forcing the benchmark Nikkei average to surrender more than 680 points at one point.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed the morning session at 22,131.14, down 341.77 points, or 1.52 percent, from Friday's closing after nose-diving 685.98 points.
The TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues tumbled 28.76 points, or 1.81 percent, to finish at 1,560.16.
Stocks met with waves of selling to lock in profits from the outset, in the wake of the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average plunging nearly 7 percent on Thursday amid rekindled coronavirus scare. But the losses shrank later as investors moved to buy the dip.
Many participants took the morning drop as a "healthy correction" following sharp advance in recent trading, an official at a major securities firm official said.
"The market took a breather," a midsize brokerage official said.
But an official at a bank-affiliated securities house warned that what seems to be "speed adjustment" is actually the beginning of a long slump.
"The focal point is whether the Nikkei will close the full session above its 200-day moving average of 21,741 as of Thursday," another major securities firm official said.