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Japan's Nikkei slumps in worst week since Dec 2022 as tech tumbles

Published 04/04/2024, 11:01 PM
Updated 04/05/2024, 02:30 AM
© Reuters. A visitor using his smartphone takes photos of an electronic screen displaying Japan's Nikkei share average, which surged past an all-time record high scaled in December 1989, inside a building in Tokyo, Japan February 22, 2024.  REUTERS/Issei Kato/File P
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By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Nikkei share average tumbled nearly 2% to a three-week low on Friday, logging its worst week since December 2022, as tech shares slid on Wall Street's lead.

Investors were also cautious ahead of a key monthly U.S. jobs report due later in the day, with the outlook for when the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates becoming increasingly unclear this week.

The Nikkei dropped 1.96%, or 781 points, to 38,992.08, bringing its loss for the week to 3.41%.

"The biggest factor for the Nikkei's decline is technical," said Kazuo Kamitani, an equities strategist at Nomura Securities.

It was a second straight weekly loss for the benchmark index, as it pulled back from an all-time high of 41,087.75 reached on March 22.

The 25-day moving average turned lower on Friday, meaning "there's the risk that the Nikkei is in for another step down from here," Kamitani said.

"The 25-day moving average has a mysterious gravitational pull, and is very much in focus for the market," he added. "All of next week, stock market moves could be a bit volatile."

Chip sector shares were among the biggest drags on Friday, with Tokyo Electron dropping 5.6% to shave 217 points from the Nikkei. Advantest erased another 81 points with a 4.85% decline.

Other notable losers included startup investor SoftBank (TYO:9984) Group, which slid 2.77%, and Uniqlo chain operator Fast Retailing, which skidded 2.26%.

Of the Nikkei's 225 components, 159 declined while 62 advanced, with four flat.

The broader Topix lost 1.08%, with a sub-index of growth shares dropping 1.49%, compared with a 0.68% decline for value stocks.

© Reuters. A visitor using his smartphone takes photos of an electronic screen displaying Japan's Nikkei share average, which surged past an all-time record high scaled in December 1989, inside a building in Tokyo, Japan February 22, 2024.  REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Seasonality also contributed to equity weakness, said Norihiro Yamaguchi, senior Japan economist at Oxford Economics.

"It is the very beginning of the new fiscal year, and earnings season is approaching soon," leading investors to adopt a wait-and-see stance, Yamaguchi said.

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