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Tokyo’s Nikkei ends sharply lower

Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, closing below the 30,000 milestone for the first time in seven sessions. (File photo/AP)
Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, closing below the 30,000 milestone for the first time in seven sessions. (File photo/AP)
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24 Feb 2021 06:02:47 GMT9
24 Feb 2021 06:02:47 GMT9

Tokyo’s benchmark stock index closed down more than one percent on Wednesday, hit by fears that an expected strong recovery in the global economy will fan inflation.

The Nikkei 225 index slipped 1.61 percent, or 484.33 points, to 29,671.70, while the broader Topix index was down 1.82 percent, or 35.28 points, at 1,903.07.

Markets have become jittery over prospects that pandemic recovery will send prices soaring and lead to a hike in lending rates — especially in the United States, where Congress is moving forward on a $1.9-billion stimulus plan.

“The market is increasingly expecting inflation, and higher yields are a negative factor for fast-growing shares such as the IT and high-tech sectors,” said senior strategist Yoshihiro Ito of Okasan Online Securities.

US shares largely recouped early losses Tuesday after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell tamped down inflation worries, but the tech-rich Nasdaq index closed lower.

“Concerns over interest rates prompted investors to lock in profits” in Tokyo, Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP. “It may take some time for the market to calm down from its recent overheat.”

The dollar fetched 105.53 yen, against 105.19 yen in New York late Tuesday.
Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest lost 3.30 percent to 9,350 yen, while industrial robot maker Fanuc dropped 4.65 percent to 26,300 yen.

SoftBank Group, which has invested in tech firms and start-ups, dropped 5.20 percent to 9,982 yen.

Sony slumped 5.46 percent to 11,325 yen on profit-taking with Nintendo down 2.33 percent at 66,440 yen.

Toshiba lost 1.28 percent to 3,455 yen after a report said the engineering firm is in talks with General Electric about joint production of offshore wind power facilities.

AFP

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