TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index reversed course to end at a 16-month low on Wednesday, trailing broader Asian markets lower as investors weighed the impact of worsening conflict in Eastern Europe and a new US ban on Russian oil.
The Nikkei stock average fell 0.3% to close at 24,717.53, its lowest since November 2020, after rising 1.1% earlier in the session. The broader Topix also pared gains to end down 0.06% at 1,758.89.
Both indexes closed lower for the fourth consecutive session.
“Investors sold off Japanese stocks as markets in other parts of Asia weakened,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.
“Especially European investors, who had sought refuge in Japanese equities, sold their holdings as tensions around Ukraine escalated.”
Investors were cautious in the face of inflationary risks and the slowdown in the global economy following the surge in oil prices. In a move that could dampen economic growth, US President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on imports of oil and other Russian energy in retaliation for the invasion, amid strong support from US voters and lawmakers. .
The Nikkei was dragged lower by recruitment agency Recruit Holdings, which fell 4.46%, while soy sauce maker Kikkoman lost 6.67%. Uniqlo clothing store owner Fast Retailing lost early gains to end down 0.66%.
Automaker Isuzu Motors rose 7.91% to become the best performer in the Nikkei, followed by computer maker Fujitsu Ltd which gained 5.54%.
Tokyo Electric Power Company lost 7% and was the worst performer in the index.
The volume of shares traded on the main board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange was 1.5 billion, compared to an average of 1.34 billion over the past 30 days.