Japan’s Nikkei falls as Wall Street ends lukewarm, Omicron woes weigh

TOKYO, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index ended lower on Friday, following late-night weakness on Wall Street as tech heavyweights led the losses amid concerns over the impact of the variant of the Omicron coronavirus also dampened risk appetite.

The Nikkei stock average (.N225) ended down 1.28% at 28,124.28, after falling more than 2% to a nearly four-week low. The broader Topix (.TOPX) lost 1.39% to 1,977.66.

The Nikkei lost 1.2% this week and the Topix slid 0.9% on the week.

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“The Japanese market fell a lot today – it fell more than the Dow and S&P overnight. buyers of Japanese equities,” said Jun Morita, managing director of Chibagin Asset Management’s research office.

All major Wall Street indexes closed lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the losses after a three-day rally, amid talks signaling that the US Federal Reserve would hike rates as early as March.

“Investors are also worried about the impact of Omicron. Japan was doing better than other countries, but now the number of infections has started to rise here as well.”

Tokyo recorded a new four-month high for COVID-19 infections on Thursday, and experts predict the spread of the Omicron will triple the daily count by the end of the month. Read more

Recruitment agency Recruit Holdings (6098.T), which many investors view as a tech stock because of its stake in US online job search firm Indeed, depressed the Nikkei the most with a drop of 4.64%.

Robot maker Fanuc (6954.T) fell 5.12% and air conditioner maker Daikin Industries (6367.T) fell 2.77%.

Fast Retailing (9983.T) bucked the index’s heavyweight trend, jumping 8.07% as clothing store owner Uniqlo said it is expected to raise prices for some products due to rising raw material and shipping costs. Read more

Hitachi gave up early gains to fall 0.36% after local media reported the conglomerate would sell part of its stake in Hitachi Construction Machinery. read more Hitachi Construction fell 16.99%.

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Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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