Tokyo shares slide to 5-1/2 month low as pandemic anxiety intensifies

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Tokyo shares slide to 5-1/2 month low as pandemic anxiety intensifies
Credit: © Reuters.

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Japanese shares plummeted on Friday to their lowest in five and a half months amid a global market sell-off and mounting concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.

The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 tumbled 3.5% to 21,184.77, its lowest level since early September, by the midday break. The index was down 9.4% for the week, the biggest in four years.

The Nikkei's volatility index .JNIV , a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing, spiked to as high as 39.09, its highest level since June 2016.

The broader Topix .TOPX shed 3.2% to 1,517.76 by the break, again its lowest since early September.

In a sign of broad selling, all of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were trading lower, with real estate .IRLTY.T , mining .IMING.T and information and communication .ICOMS.T being the worst performers.

Semiconductor and other cyclical shares were hit hard, with Tokyo Electron Ltd 8035.T and Screen Holdings Co Ltd 7735.T declining 4.6% and 5.2%, respectively. Honda Motor Co Ltd 7267.T lost 3.9%.

Electronic parts makers Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd 6981.T and TDK Corp 6762.T dropped 4.2% and 4.1%, respectively.

Bucking the overall weakness, childcare and after-school daycare centre operator Like Kids Inc 6065.T jumped 13.9% after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late Thursday urged Japan's entire school system, from elementary to high schools, to close from Monday until spring break late in March to help contain the virus outbreak. Land Co Ltd 4661.T ended the morning session 0.9% higher on the day but may face a selloff in afternoon trade as the amusement park operator said it will close Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea from Saturday until March 15.

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