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Markets

Tokyo stocks open lower weighed by virus worries

  • Other reports said one or possibly two separate funds were considering counter buyout offers for Toshiba.
14 Apr 2021

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday after a mixed close on Wall Street, with lingering worries over a rise in virus infections in Japan.

The benchmark Nikkei index was down 0.21 percent or 62.85 points at 29,688.76 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.41 percent or 8.05 points to 1,950.50.

Investors are seeking reasons to buy stocks "but worries over expanding coronavirus infections are weighing on the market," senior strategist Yoshihiro Ito of Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

Covid-19 surges across Japan have forced the government to tighten restrictions only weeks after they were lifted, and the country's innoculation drive is lagging behind some other countries, with less than one percent of the population vaccinated so far.

In Osaka, the spike prompted the governor to bar the Olympic torch relay from public roads. It is instead being carried around a closed course at a park, with spectators kept out.

Toshiba jumped 4.46 percent to 4,800 yen after reports said its president Nobuaki Kurumatani will resign later in the day as a buyout offer from a private equity firm stirs turmoil inside the Japanese firm.

Toshiba issued a statement saying its board of directors would meet Wednesday "and is scheduled to discuss the appointment of representative executive officers".

Other reports said one or possibly two separate funds were considering counter buyout offers for Toshiba.

Among other shares, Hitachi was down 1.31 percent at 5,180 yen and Honda was off 0.79 percent at 3,264 yen, while chip-testing equipment maker Advantest was up 0.85 percent at 10,720 yen.

The dollar fetched 108.84 yen in early Asian trade, against 109.06 yen in New York late Tuesday.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 0.2 percent at 33,677.27 but the broad-based S&P closed up 0.3 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq was up 1.1 percent.