Tokyo stocks ended lower Friday as concerns over Ukraine gripped investors despite Washington’s announcement that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accepted an invitation to meet his Russian counterpart.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.41 percent, or 110.80 points, to 27,122.07 while the broader Topix index lost 0.36 percent, or 6.93 points, to 1,924.31.
The dollar stood at 115.17 yen in Asian trade, against 114.91 yen seen on Thursday in New York.
Tracking falls on Wall Street, the Nikkei opened sharply lower amid continued uncertainty over the standoff in Ukraine.
But buybacks then took hold among investors on the news that Blinken has agreed to meet Russian foreign minister Sergei L
avrov next week, provided there is no invasion before then.
The announcement “reassured the market that at the very least, there is unlikely to be any imminent invasion by Russia,” Makoto Sengoku, senior equity market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities, told AFP.
“The prospect of Washington-Moscow talks offered slight hopes of a resolution to the current crisis, and that kind of expectation likely helped narrow drops,” Sengoku said.
Further into the trading session, a wait-and-see mood prevailed among investors ahead of the weekend, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.
Shortly before the market opened on Friday, the government said Japan’s core consumer prices in January rose 0.2 percent compared with a year ago, driven up by rising energy prices.
The level remains far below the Bank of Japan’s target of two percent inflation.
Among major shares, Toyota rose 1.08 percent to 2,184 yen. Sony Group lost 0.69 percent to 12,075 yen. SoftBank Group advanced 1.30 percent to 5,184 yen.
Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing also added 1.00 percent to 64,340 yen.