Nikkei falls on disappointing tech outlook, pandemic concerns

TOKYO: Japanese shares ended lower on Friday, weighed down by technology firms’ disappointing outlook, while a spike in domestic COVID-19 infections hit investor sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.83% to close at 28,812.63, while the broader Topix slipped 0.57% to 1,898.24.

Japanese tech stocks led the declines, as investors sifted through latest earnings reports and sold shares of companies that failed to live up to their lofty expectations for a robust rebound this year, analysts said.

Investors are also growing more worried about COVID-19, as new infections in Tokyo and Osaka are rising even after the declaration of a state of emergency for the two cities at the start of this week, analysts said.

Tokyo reported 1,027 daily infections on Thursday, the highest since Jan. 18.

“The earnings coming in so far have not justified the massive rally in stocks from last year, so the upside is limited,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

“Britain and the United States have shown that vaccinations lead to a resumption of economic activity, but unfortunately Japan is lagging behind.”

Z Holdings fell 7.11% after the search engine operator and internet advertiser’s profit forecasts for the current fiscal year disappointed investors who were expecting more benefits from its merger last month with Line, Japan’s most popular messaging app.

Sony Group lost 7.714% after the maker of the PlayStation gaming console said it expects profits to fall as stay-at-home demand wanes.

Murata Manufacturing Co also fell 3.55% after the electronic parts maker’s forecasts also fell short of analysts’ expectations.

One exception to the declines in the tech sector was CyberAgent Inc. Shares of the mobile video-game operator surged 15.28% after the company raised its earnings forecasts.

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