Nikkei slumps to 4-month low as inflation scare hits expensive shares

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei slumps to 4-month low as inflation scare hits expensive shares
Credit: © Reuters.

TOKYO, May 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares sank on Thursday, with the Nikkei average hitting a four-month low, as SoftBank Group 9984.T and highly valued stocks were pummelled by U.S. inflation scare.

The Nikkei index .N225 dropped 1.84% to 27,628.73, hitting its lowest level since early January, while the broader Topix .TOPX shed 0.61% to 1,866.57, touching a three-month low.

"Inflation worries are hitting high-tech stocks while rising domestic coronavirus infections are raising concerns about political stability. And, companies' guidance is pretty soft," said a strategist at a Japanese brokerage.

"But I do expect the market to bottom out soon. You can't keep selling forever when earnings are still improving."

A shocking rise in U.S. inflation published on Wednesday fanned worries U.S. interest rates may need to rise sooner than expected.

That bludgeoned Wall Street overnight, especially tech shares whose high valuations have been based on the assumption of low interest rates, and hit Japanese equivalents as well.

SoftBank Group 9984.T dropped 7.2% as concern over its frothy portfolio valuations eclipsed the fact that it has announced a record profit for a Japanese firm. richly valued shares, mainly from the tech and healthcare sectors, fell sharply, with medical equipment maker Terumo 4543.T down 4.3%, chip-making machine maker Tokyo Electron 8035.T losing 4.4% and lens maker Hoya 7741.T dropping 3.2%.

Also hurting market sentiment, Japan is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing dozens of towns to abandon plans to accept overseas athletes competing in the Olympics from July due to concerns about inadequate resources. results also continued to weigh on the market, with softer-than-expected guidance often enough to trigger big selling, dwarfing improving profits.

Game company Nexon 3659.T lost 15.3%, while electronics maker NEC 6701.T dropped 11.7%. JGC Corp 1963.T fell 10.6%.

Meanwhile, about a third of shares on the main board managed to gain, led mainly by value shares, such as steelmakers .ISTEL.T and banks .IBNKS.T . The Topix Value index .TOPXV was almost flat.

Retailer Seven&i Holdings 3382.T jumped 6.8% to a two-year high after activist investor ValueAct Capital amassed a $1.53 billion stake in the firm. Mitsui Trust Holdings 8309.T gained after the Nikkei business daily reported the banking group planned to sell down all of its cross-holding shares.

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