Japan’s Nikkei loses most in 3 weeks on Ukraine, US inflation risks


TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index fell to its highest level in nearly three weeks on Monday, dragged down by tech stocks, on investor concerns over escalating tensions around Ukraine and widening inflationary risks.

The Nikkei stock average (.N225) fell 2.23% to close at 27,079.59, posting its biggest daily percentage decline since January 27 and touching below the 27,000 level for the first time since. January 31. The broader Topix (.TOPX) lost 1.63% to 1,930.65.

“Because the market was closed (in Japan) on Friday, today’s market was hit by two separate pieces of negative news that occurred over the past week – tensions around Ukraine and Russia and the strong rising consumer prices in the United States,” said Shuji Hosoi, senior strategist. at Daiwa Securities.

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“If the situation in Ukraine worsens, the market could fall further.”

Wall Street ended sharply lower on Friday for the second straight session, as investors worried about heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, US inflation and the outlook for aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Data from the Labor Department showed that consumer prices in the United States jumped 7.5% last month year-on-year, beating economists’ estimates of 7.3% and marking the largest annual increase in inflation in 40 years. Read more

In Japan, market heavyweights fell, with clothing store owner Uniqlo Fast Retailing (9983.T) losing 3.09%, tech investor SoftBank Group (9984.T) dropping 3.92% while air conditioner maker Daikin Industries (6367.T) fell 4.1%.

Tire maker Bridgestone (5108.T) fell 8.92% and was the worst performer in the Nikkei, followed by online medical platform M3 (2413.T), which fell 7.08%.

Oil Explorers (.IMING.T) was the biggest gainer among the exchange’s 33 industrial sub-indices with a 6.24% jump. Inpex (1605.T) gained 6.56% and Japan Petroleum Exploration (1662.T) gained 6.92%.

Oil prices rose to their highest level in more than seven years on fears that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could trigger US and EU sanctions that would disrupt exports from the world’s top producer in an already tight market.

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Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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