Japanese shares rack up biggest fall in 6 months as tech shares slide


TOKYO: Japanese shares suffered their biggest drop in six months on Thursday, tracking Wall Street, weighed by technology companies which have benefited from a recent rally in stocks.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.53% to 28,197.42, the biggest decline since July 31, while the broader Topix slid 1.14% to 1,838.85.

Topix's electric appliances index has jumped 6.34% this year, while the Topix has gained 1.89%.

"Today's market is tracking the U.S. stock markets. The rise in the stock volatility index is also prompting investors to sell down," said Yoshihiro Takeshige, general manager at investment management department of Asahi Life Asset Management.

Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and kept its bond-buying program intact, as widely expected, noting that the economic recovery has slowed in recent months.

That along with a slump in shares of planemaker Boeing Co led U.S. stocks to post their biggest one-day percentage drop in three months on Wednesday.

Rising coronavirus cases and uneven distribution of vaccine rollouts increased investor anxiety, sending the CBOE Market Volatility index to its highest since Oct. 30 overnight.

Local chip-related shares fell, with Renesas Electronics losing 5.85%, Advantest falling 4.3% and Sumco declining 4.47%.

Fanuc fell 1.01% even after the factory automation machinery maker raised its operating profit forecast for a second time to 105.8 billion yen ($1.01 billion), a 19.8% increase from a year earlier.

Nikkei's heavy weights also declined, with SoftBank Group sinking 3.6%, Tokyo Electron dropping 4.62% and Fast Retailing falling 0.24%.

Shares in transport and retailers, which have been sold heavily during the pandemic, advanced. ANA Holdings, Japan Airlines and East Japan Railway rose between 2.71% and 4.65%.

Automakers Mitsubishi Motors rose 6.75% and Isuzu Motors gained 4.73%, while department store operators Takashimaya and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings gained 4.85% and 5.67%, respectively. - Reuters

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