Tokyo shares slide as coronavirus outbreak takes toll

  • Reuters
Tokyo shares slide as coronavirus outbreak takes toll

SYDNEY, March 30 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday as the coronavirus outbreak worsened over the weekend and more countries imposed lockdown measures, raising fears that Tokyo could also go into lockdown.

The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 dropped 3.2% to 18,762.70 by the midday break after Friday's 3.9% gain.

The Nikkei's volatility index .JNIV , a measure of investors' volatility expectations based on option pricing and considered to be a fear gauge, rose 4.7% to 55.27, still off a nine-year peak of 60.86 hit on March 16.

More than 662,700 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 30,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally. President Donald Trump on Sunday extended his stay-at-home guidelines until the end of April, dropping his earlier plan to get the economy up and running by mid-April after a top medical adviser said more than 100,000 Americans could die. authorities warned that lockdown measures could last months, while Japan reportedly set to expand its entry ban to include citizens travelling from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday promised an unprecedented package of steps, saying the country was close to a national emergency as infections surged. broader Topix .TOPX shed 3.5% to 1,409.17 by the midday recess.

All the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were in negative territory, with air transport .IAIRL.T , banking .IBNKS.T and warehouse and wharf .IWHSE.T being the worst three performing sectors.

Major oil refiners JXTG Holdings Inc 5020.T and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd 5019.T sank 4.9% and 7.3%, respectively, after U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 fell below $20 a barrel on early Monday. O/R

As Tokyo moves closer toward a potential citywide lockdown over the pandemic, shares of food makers bucked the overall weakness.

Nichirei Corp 2871.T climbed 4.8%, Ajinomoto Co Inc 2802.T rose 2.8%, and Yamazaki Baking Co Ltd 2212.T added 2.5%.

Elsewhere, Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group 9984.T slumped 7.2% after OneWeb, a satellite operator that SBG backs, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to pursue a sale of its business amid the virus outbreak.

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