TOKYO -- The market's performance today confirmed that Japanese equity investors had three things on their minds: Sell, sell and sell. And tech shares continued to see the brunt of that selling, which some say is due to profit-taking before the March 31 fiscal year-end, while others note the action is an overdue price correction.
On top of that, a top government official's public proclamation that Japan's October-December
gross domestic product
, to be released March 13, will be "rather bad," didn't help matters at all.
index fell 131.19 to 19,796.34, while the
index, which includes shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, lost 36.66, or 2.2%, to 1649.83. The
small-cap index tumbled 5.93, or 5.0%, to 111.96, while the Nikkei
shares shed 132.97, or 5.3%, to 2383.92.
shed 22,000 yen, or 15.8%, to 117,000. Its subsidiary
slipped 7 million, or 4.8%, to 140 million, while
lost 2,000, or 8.3%, to 22,000.
shed 65, or 2.4%, to 2625, while
bucked the trend to climb 15, or 1.2%, to 1401.
got hit pretty badly, even though its new PlayStation2 game console, which hit the shelves Saturday, sold out in a matter of minutes. Local reports said an average of 2,000 fans queued up by midnight Friday at the major game outlets in parts of downtown Tokyo. Traders said expectations for brisk sales had been priced into Sony shares for months, and a little correction was long overdue. After hitting a high of 31,400, Sony closed down 1450, or 4.7%, at 29,550.
fell 10 to 4340 after the
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
reported that the automaker would buy a 5% stake in
for 10 billion yen ($93.4 billion). Yamaha gained 75, or 9.1%, to 900.
Besides the tech selloff, weekend comments from an
Economic Planning Agency
official about disappointing economic growth has hurt sentiment, traders said. EPA Administrative Vice Minister Takashi Nakanomyo said October-December GDP will be "rather bad" because household spending, which makes up the largest portion of GDP, declined 2.2% in the period.
Foreign-exchange dealers said the GDP comments didn't hurt the yen, which lately traded around 107.50 to the greenback. EPA head Taichi Sakaiya tried to offset the market's concern by saying he expects positive GDP growth for the January-March quarter.
index climbed 473.54 to 17,758.76. The hot stock of the day was
, up HK$12.30, or 24.8%, to 62.00. The company signed up last week for a joint venture with
Pacific Century CyberWorks
, which was up 1.15, or 5.3%, to 23.05, but investors were also speculating that Legend will eventually make its way into
Morgan Stanley Capital International's China Free
index and the Hang Seng. Many fund managers like to look at the MSCI indices to gauge the international investments in their portfolio.
climbed 3.25, or 4.3%, to 79.25, and
Cable & Wireless HKT
rose 1.30, or 5.5%, to 25.00.
With the continuing threat of a potential military showdown between Beijing and Taipei, China's
index was down 56.936, or 3.3%, to 1681.085, while Taiwan's
index shed 150.06, or 1.6%, to 9367.91. Korea's
index climbed 14.50, or 1.6%, to 909.33.