Tokyo stocks close lower

Monitoring Desk

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed lower Friday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of a long weekend while assessing the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak on the world’s third-largest economy. The Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.4 percent, or 92.41 points, to 23,386.74 — taking losses over the week to 1.3 percent.

The broader Topix index was flat at 1,674. Over the week, it dropped 1.7 percent. “Worries over the new coronavirus are weighing on the market” even though a cheaper yen is offering some support, Resona Bank said. Investors are taking a wait-and-see approach ahead of the long weekend, analysts said.

The Japanese market will be closed on Monday for a public holiday. The yen, which usually holds a safe-haven status, remained weak due to worries over Japan’s slowing economy and coronavirus fears, analysts said. The dollar fetched 111.94 yen against the dollar in late Tokyo trading, against 112.08 yen in New York and 111.41 in Tokyo on Thursday.

Some electronics stocks ended lower, with Sony slipping 0.6 percent to 7,479 yen and chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron dropping 1.3 percent to 24,845 yen.

Telecom and investment giant SoftBank Group rose 2.4 percent to 5,664 yen and domestic e-commerce giant Rakuten climbed 4.1 percent to 987 yen, while market heavyweight Fast Retailing, the Uniqlo casual wear operator, was down 1.3 percent at 58,860 yen. (AFP/APP)