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A man wearing a fast mask walks past a quotation board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange  (AFP)
A man wearing a fast mask walks past a quotation board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (AFP)

Tokyo stocks fall more than 3% at open

The benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 3.26 per cent or 631.50 points at 18,757.93 in early trade

TOKYO : Tokyo stocks opened down more than three per cent Monday, as traders fret about the spreading coronavirus with a higher yen against the dollar also weighing on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 3.26 per cent or 631.50 points at 18,757.93 in early trade, while the broader Topix index dropped 3.17 per cent or 46.30 points to 1,413.19.

The dollar fetched 107.55 yen in early Asian trade, against 107.88 yen in New York on Friday.

"Japanese shares are seen dominated by profit-taking sales following falls in US shares with the trend of a higher yen," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

Selling was also driven by the fact that the right to receive company dividends expired on Monday, leading many investors to sell off their holdings, analysts said. Major shares were down across the board, with Toyota losing 5.92 per cent to 6,613 yen and Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing down 4.39 per cent to 42,480 yen.

Sony was down 2.39 per cent at 6,504 yen after it said the virus had hammered its music and entertainment venues, as well as sales of its electronic products.

Fujifilm bucked the trend, soaring more than 10 per cent at one point amid reports the government will support research linked to its anti-flu medicine Avigan as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 4.1 per cent at 21,636.78.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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