TOKYO -- Expectations of
weak first-quarter earnings from key electronics makers, which will start to release numbers this week, sent key Japanese stock indices lower Monday.
index lost 264.37, or 1.6%, to stand at 16,547.12, while the
index, which includes all shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, shed 18.62, or 1.2%, to close at 1504.81. The the Nikkei
index lost 34.55, or 2.0%, finishing at 1671.49.
Group of Eight
summit yielding little over the weekend, the market took its cue from Friday's performance of the
. Shares of
, which invests in about 200 U.S. firms, slipped 650 yen, or 5.5%, to 11,190 ($102.88).
Sentiment was also hurt when traders got hold of talk that
Nomura Asset Management's
newest mutual fund reportedly had not collected as much money as it previously expected, traders noted. The
Strategic Value Open fund
has a ceiling of 200 billion yen, but only about half of the total had been garnered, some traders noted.
With first-quarter earnings jitters cramping the style of many investors, large-cap tech shares were shed in earnest, including
, down 190, or 1.8%, to 10,490,
, down 100, or 3.1%, to 3100, and
down 45, or 1.5%, to 2995. Many investors are waiting for Sony's results to be released Wednesday before stepping into the market.
The greenback eased slightly against the yen in lethargic trading and recently fetched 108.77.
Weak telecom shares punched Hong Kong's
index down 261.17, or 1.5%, to 17,659.69. Index heavyweight
led the way by sliding HK$3.00, or 4.2%, to 68.75 ($8.82), while rival
shed 0.30, or 1.5%, to 20.00.
slid 1.50, or 1.2%, to 122.00 despite news that
secured its takeover of U.S.
. Hutchison owns a 23% stake in VoiceStream.
Korean stocks were the biggest losers in Asia, with the key
index sliding 45.17, or 5.8%, to 737.89. A tumble in semiconductor shares triggered the downfall, with
falling KW27,000, or 7.8%, to 319,000 ($286.72). However, as daytraders, who sometimes drum up as much as 40% of the market's total trades, joined in the selling spree, a key psychological level of 770 was broken and depressed sentiment even more. Securities firms were hit the hardest, with
down 1700, or 15.0%, to 9650 and
down 1200, or 12.6%, to 8300.