TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average hit a more than three-month low on the first day of trading session of 2023 on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street’s weak finish overnight, while the yen’s strength against the dollar also weighed on sentiment.
The Nikkei lost 1.42% to 25,742.66 by the midday break, its lowest level since Oct. 3. The broader Topix lost 1.02% to 1,872.43. Wall Street’s main indexes closed lower overnight with the biggest drags from Tesla and Apple, while investors worried about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hiking path as they awaited minutes from its December policy meeting.
In Japan, clothing brand Uniqlo’s owner Fast Retailing lost 2.11% , dragging the Nikkei the most, while chip testing equipment maker Advantest fell 2.24%. Drugmakers Daiichi Sankyo tanked 5.69% and Eisai slipped 6.31%.
On top of Wall Street weakness, the yen’s gain against the dollar also weighed on investor sentiment, Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities, told reporters.
The yen rose to a seven-month high against the greenback on Tuesday on rising expectations that the Bank of Japan might move away from its ultra-easy monetary policy.
All but three industry sub-indexes fell. The banking sector jumped 2.86% to become the top gainer among the 33 industry groups, and insurance firms gained 0.8%. The brokerage sector inched up 0.07%.
Of the 225 Nikkei components, 31 stocks rose while 194 declined.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.68 billion, compared to the average of 1.18 billion in the last 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)