Japan’s Nikkei index reversed course to end at a 16-month low on Wednesday, tracking broader Asian markets lower, as investors assessed the impact of the worsening conflict in eastern Europe and a new U.S. ban on Russian oil.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.3% to close at 24,717.53, its lowest since November 2020, after rising as much as 1.1% earlier in the session. The broader Topix also cut its gains to end 0.06% lower at 1,758.89.
Both indexes closed lower for the fourth straight session.
“Investors sold Japanese shares as markets in other pars of Asia weakened,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
“Particularly investors in Europe, who had sought safe haven in Japanese stocks, sold their holdings as tensions surrounding Ukraine intensified.”
Investors were cautions about inflationary risks and a slowdown in global economy following the surge in oil prices. In a move that could curb economic growth, U.S. President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports in retaliation for the invasion, amid strong support from American voters and lawmakers.
The Nikkei was dragged lower by staffing agency Recruit Holdings, which fell 4.46%, while soy sauce maker Kikkoman lost 6.67%. Uniqlo clothing store owner Fast Retailing shed early gains to end 0.66% lower. Automaker Isuzu Motors rose 7.91% to become the top performer in the
Nikkei, followed by computer maker Fujitsu Ltd gaining 5.54%.
Tokyo Electric Power Company lost 7% and was the worst performer in the index.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.5 billion, compared with the average of 1.34 billion in the past 30 days.