TOKYO, July 18 — Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index paring its weekly advance, as the yen held gains after a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down over Ukraine and Israel sent troops into Gaza.
Mazda Motor Corp, an automaker that gets 66 per cent of its revenue overseas, slid 1.4 per cent. Sharp Corp lost 3.1 per cent on a report its quarterly net loss will exceed 10 billion yen (RM314 million). Energy explorer Inpex Corp gained 2 per cent as oil rose amid geopolitical tensions.
The Topix declined 0.9 per cent to 1,262.23 as of 12:31 p.m. in Tokyo, trimming its weekly increase to 0.6 per cent. All but two of its 33 industry groups dropped today. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 1.1 per cent to 15,200.42. The yen fell 0.2 per cent to 101.33 per dollar after surging 0.5 per cent yesterday.
“Investors have yet to estimate the implications” of the plane crash,’’ said Yusuke Kuwayama, a portfolio manager at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co in Tokyo. “Normally, geopolitical risks give you an opportunity to buy back because shares tend to rebound. But you have to wait for now as the crash just happened and it’s hard to grasp the situation.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 per cent today. The equity measure sank 1.2 per cent yesterday. The Malaysian Airlines jet en route to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The government in Kiev blamed pro-Russian rebels, while the separatists deny the accusation.
Israel moved troops and tanks into Hamas-controlled Gaza behind heavy artillery shelling, the first significant Israeli ground operation in the area since 2009. The invasion comes after Palestinians launched rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli aerial sorties killed more than 200 Gaza residents.
The Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index jumped 11 per cent today. The Topix traded at 1.2 times book value yesterday, compared with 2.7 for the S&P 500 and 1.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Through yesterday the Topix had rebounded 11 per cent from a May 21 low, on signs the economy is weathering an April sales tax increase and amid optimism Japan’s 126.6 trillion yen pension fund will buy more domestic stocks. — Bloomberg