Nikkei: Nikkei closes nearly 2% down; Japan shares extend losses as BOJ’s lack of action disappoints

TOKYO: Japanese stocks ended lower on Wednesday, tracking an extended sell-off in Asian shares, as investors refrained from placing big bets amid the Bank of Japan’s absence in supporting the market despite a sharp drop in the previous session.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.91 per cent to close at 28,147.51, after falling to the lowest level in more than three months earlier in the session. The broader Topix lost 1.47 per cent to 1,877.95.

Asian shares fell to their lowest in seven weeks as surging commodity prices and growing inflationary pressure in the United States prompted markets to bet on earlier rate hikes and higher bond yields globally.

“There are concerns around the recovery of Asian economies amid an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, particularly in Taiwan,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

Taiwan, which has so far controlled the pandemic well, may raise its Covid-19 alert level in “coming days”.

“Also the Bank of Japan so far hasn’t shown any signs of supporting the market. That has disappointed investors.”

The Bank of Japan, which typically buys stocks in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in bulk when markets are falling, did not step in on Tuesday when both the Nikkei and Topix marked their biggest daily drop since Feb. 26.

SoftBank Group dragged the Nikkei lower by losing 3.45 per cent despite a local media report that the tech start-up investor was set to deliver a net profit later in the day.

Nissan Motor tumbled 10.04 per cent after the automaker flagged a weaker-than-expected outlook for the current fiscal year.

Toyota Motor gained 2.18 per cent after flagging a 14 per cent increase in its operating profit forecast for this year. Although the guideline missed the average profit forecast from 24 analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

There were 31 advancers in the Nikkei index against 192 decliners.

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