Japanese stocks follow Wall St down; Topix close at a 19-month low
December 18, 2018
Japanese stocks tracked global peers and tumbled on Tuesday, with the Topix closing at 19-month low, as worries about cooling global growth took a toll on cyclical stocks.
The Nikkei share average ended the day down 1.82 percent at 21,115.45 after touching 21,107.13, its lowest level since Dec. 11.
The index edged towards a trough of 20,971.93 reached in late October, and a drop below that level would take it to a nine-month low.
The broader Topix closed 1.99 percent lower at 1,562.51, its weakest point since May 2017.
Cyclicals such as electronics products makers and technology stocks - sectors generally seen benefiting when the economy is expected to perform well - bore the brunt of selling.
Fujitsu Ltd slid 2.9 percent, Sony Corp tumbled 4.4 percent, Nintendo Co declined 3.3 percent and Sumco Corp shed 1.2 percent.
“Mid-to-long investors are changing their global asset allocations to reflect their risk-averse stance,” said Shogo Maekawa, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
“They are reducing risky assets like stocks and adding more fixed income products such as short-term U.S. bonds.”
On Monday, Wall Street’s major indexes all slid more than 2 percent on concerns about slowing economic growth ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting this week that will be closely watched for clues on the U.S. monetary policy outlook in 2019.
Exporters sagged with the yen reaching its strongest level in a week against the dollar. Toyota Motor Corp fell 0.9 percent, Bridgestone Corp lost 1.5 percent and Nikon Corp shed 1.1 percent.
Tuesday’s losers included Takeda Pharmaceutical, which tumbled 8.9 percent after Moody’s cut its rating to Baa2 from A2 on its decision to purchase Shire Plc.
Park24 slumped 12.5 percent after the parking lot operator forecast a 7.6 percent drop in its current fiscal year net profit.
Daito Trust Construction Co bucked the trend and rose 1.3 percent after saying it will buy back 86.8 billion yen ($771 million) of its own shares, equivalent to 9.4 percent of outstanding stock.