Japanese stocks fall as rising COVID cases spark recession fears
TOKYO — Japanese shares fell on Tuesday, as rising domestic cases of COVID-19 raised worries of a recession and sparked a morning selloff.
The Nikkei share average closed down 1.77% at 26,336.66, after losing as much as 1.99% earlier in the session.
The broader Topix index lost 1.64%.
Stocks had risen on Monday, outperforming the rest of the region, as the Japanese government’s ruling coalition secured a strong result in the weekend’s upper house election.
The Nikkei was down 2.68% from Monday’s high of 27,062.17 and 0.68% lower than Friday’s close, when markets were rocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
A domestic securities broker said the market was overbought in the previous session despite the absence of any positive external factors.
“The increased spread of COVID-19 has strengthened fears of a global recession,” said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.
“Given this situation, Japanese stocks, which are largely economically sensitive, are inevitably going to weaken.”
Japan reported 54,993 cases on Monday, according to official government data, up from 16,791 a week earlier.
Of the Nikkei’s 225 components, 206 fell, three were flat, and only 16 gained.
Tech and manufacturing stocks weighed on the index, with electronics components manufacturer TDK falling the most, down 5.14%.
Industrial robotics manufacturers Fanuc Corp and Yaskawa Electric Corp also saw significant losses, as did SoftBank Group Corp and Casio Computer Co Ltd .
Every Nikkei sector lost value, with utilities seeing the smallest losses at 0.07%. Kansai Electric Power Co Inc gained 1.09%, the second most of any component on the index.
Food products company Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd was the best performer, gaining 2.74%.
Video games companies Konami Group Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd also saw gains, up 0.67% and 0.42%, respectively. (Reporting by Sam Byford and Tokyo markets team; Editing by Rashmi Aich)