SYDNEY, April 16 (Reuters) - Japanese shares dropped on Thursday, tracking the overnight decline on Wall Street as dire economic outlook weighed on investor sentiment, with banks and automakers leading the falls.
The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 dropped 1.2% to 19,315.45 by the midday break. The Nikkei's volatility index .JNIV , a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, rose 6.5% to 38.62.
On Wednesday, all three major U.S. stock indexes fell as the raft of weak economic data and dismal first-quarter earnings reports compounded concerns over the extent of damage from the coronavirus outbreak. .N
In further evidence of economic damage from the epidemic, U.S. retail sales fell the most on record last month, while manufacturing output fell by the most in 74 years, raising fears of a deep recession. earnings from Bank of America Corp (NYSE:
) BAC.N and Citigroup (NYSE:
The broader Topix .TOPX dropped 1.0% to 1,420.12 by the recess, with more than two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading in negative territory.
Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T slid 2.2% after the carmaker said it will cut production of finished vehicles at 18 plants in Japan due to the COVID-19 outbreak. automakers also faced selling pressure, with Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T , Honda Motor Co Ltd 7267.T and Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T losing between 3.3% and 4.1%.
Bucking the overall weakness, the index of Mothers start-up shares .MTHR advanced 1.7% to 723.94, its highest level since March 6.
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