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Tokyo: Stocks open lower following US losses

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Tokyo shares opened lower on Wednesday, extending losses on Wall Street amid a broader market rout over the coronavirus outbreak.

[TOKYO] Tokyo shares opened lower on Wednesday, extending losses on Wall Street amid a broader market rout over the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.9 per cent, or 353.05 points, to 18,563.96 in early trade, while the broader Topix index dropped 1.8 per cent, or 24.92 points, to 1,378.12.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped almost 2 per cent to finish at 21,917.16.

The blue-chip index lost more than 23 per cent for the quarter, its worst since 1987, as the US shut major parts of its economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"With losses in US shares and concerns over the new coronavirus, investors are likely to refrain from buying," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

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The dollar traded at 107.36 yen in early Asian trade against 107.63 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

In Tokyo trading, Fujifilm continued to rise after the company announced on Tuesday it began a clinical study on its anti-flu drug Avigan for treating the new coronavirus.

The firm jumped 2.2 per cent to 5,558 yen (S$73.41).

Automakers were lower with Honda falling 1.87 per cent to 2,384.5 yen and Toyota 0.58 per cent to 6,463 yen.

Subaru dropped 1.9 per cent to 2,034.5 yen after it announced it would halt its plants in Japan and the US for about 20 days.

Before markets opened, a key survey showed confidence among Japan's biggest manufacturers had plunged into negative territory for the first time in seven years, as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand and disrupts production.

The Bank of Japan's March Tankan business survey -- a quarterly poll of about 10,000 companies -- showed a reading of minus 8 among major manufacturers, the first negative reading since March 2013.

AFP

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