Japan shares end lower as coronavirus worries pile up

  • Reuters
Japan shares end lower as coronavirus worries pile up

By Stanley White

TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Thursday, hit by concerns the country was on the verge of a coronavirus crisis as the global death toll continued to climb.

The Nikkei index .N225 ended down 1.37% at 17,818.72, shedding 25% so far this year.

Experts warned on Wednesday that Japan was on the brink of a crisis as virus cases rise relentlessly around the nation, increasing the chance of lockdowns and other severe restrictions on personal movement that will hurt economic activity. the United States, President Donald Trump sounded a dire warning this week as the number of deaths from the respiratory illness climbed to around 5,000.

More U.S. states are ordering residents to stay at home to slow the virus' spread, pointing to a prolonged slowdown. further on sentiment was data showing U.S. manufacturing activity hit its weakest in 11 years last month, revealing the full extent to which the pandemic was damaging global growth. investors will buy on dips, but you can't be too aggressive," said Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

"There are a lot of speculators selling futures, because they expect further downside. It's hard to predict how much corporate earnings and economic indicators will worsen."

On Thursday, there were 28 advancers on the Nikkei index against 196 decliners.

The largest percentage losses in the index were department store operator J.Front Retailing Co Ltd 3086.T down 8.15%, followed by printer and electronics maker Seiko Epson Corp 6724.T losing 7.39%, and Subaru Corp 7270.T down 7.2% after the auto maker said it would suspend global production.

The largest percentage gainers in the index were oil producer Inpex Corp 1605.T up 4.51%, followed by parcel delivery company Yamato Holdings Co Ltd 9064.T gaining 3.46%, and convenience store operator FamilyMart Co Ltd 8028.T up 2.59%.

The broader TOPIX index .TOPX ended Thursday down 1.57%.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 1.64 billion, compared to the average of 2.07 billion in the past 30 days.

The coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, has turned into a global pandemic that has claimed more than 40,000 lives and paralysed large swathes of the global economy. (Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jacqueline Wong)

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