TOKYO (Kyodo) – Tokyo stocks closed on Friday in a mixed way, concerns over the economic impact of the escalating coronavirus pandemic having offset the purchase of energy stocks on the recovery of crude oil prices.
The Nikkei share average of 225 issues finished up 1.47 points, or 0.01%, from Thursday at 17,820.19. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 4.74 points, or 0.36%, down to 1,325.13.
Airlines, automakers and retailers were among the main declines, prompted by expectations that prolonged home support measures in the fight against the virus will limit personal spending and overall domestic demand.
In the currency market, mixed sentiment limited the US dollar to a narrow range in the upper 107 yen zone.
“There is concern that a recent outbreak of infections may lead to closures of Tokyo and other major cities across the city,” said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.
Uncertainties surrounding the virus pandemic led investors to reduce their holdings before the weekend, after the Nikkei briefly increased by 200 points to regain the 18,000 mark as energy problems led the market.
Concerns about the spread of an explosive virus are increasing in Japan as the daily number of newly confirmed infections increases. The number of patients, including passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess, has exceeded 3,500 to date.
Oil prices jumped after US President Donald Trump said overnight that he expects Russia and Saudi Arabia to announce a substantial drop in production, hinting at the end of their war oil prices that devastated the petroleum industries that are already suffering from a shortage of demand due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Oil explorer Inpex gained 16.20 yen, or 2.6%, to 632.20 yen, and refiner Idemitsu Kosan rose 36 yen, or 1.5%, to 2,491 yen.
On the first section, the decreasing emissions outnumbered the advanceers from 1,653 to 467, while 48 were unchanged.
Denka jumped 500 yen, or 24.0%, to 2,581 yen, a day after announcing that the Tokyo-based chemical company would supply diethyl malonate, a key material for Avigan, to developer Fujifilm Toyama Chemical anti-influenza drug effective against coronavirus.
Shares of Fujifilm Holdings, the drug company’s parent company, also jumped, up 339 yen, or 6.2%, to 5,764 yen.
Among the declines, department store operator J. Front Retailing fell 62 yen, or 7.8%, to 738 yen. ANA Holdings fell 53.50 yen, or 2.4%, to 2,197.50 yen while Toyota Motor lost 92 yen, or 1.5%, to 6,195 yen.
The volume of trade on the main section fell to 1,499.11 million shares, against 1,644.26 million shares Thursday.