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Tokyo stocks fall in morning on Wall St. declines, SoftBank tumble

This May 7, 2020 file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks fell Monday morning, tracking declines on Wall Street late last week amid worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve may move to tighten its monetary policy soon, while large losses in SoftBank Group Corp. weighed on the Nikkei benchmark.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average sagged 162.76 points, or 0.58 percent, from Friday to 27,866.81. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 9.43 points, or 0.48 percent, at 1,948.43.

    Decliners were led by information and communication, service and pharmaceutical issues.

    The U.S. dollar hovered around the 113 yen line as investors fled to the perceived safety of the yen amid the further spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, dealers said.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 112.99-113.00 yen compared with 112.80-90 yen in New York and 113.37-38 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1291-1292 and 127.58-59 yen against $1.1305-1315 and 127.58-68 yen in New York and $1.1293-1294 and 128.03-07 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

    Selling took the upper hand in the stock market, as investors worried the Fed may more quickly reduce the pace of its bond purchasing program, brokers said.

    Such concerns increased after the U.S. government said Friday the country's unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point in November from the previous month to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since February last year.

    Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said that while the U.S. economy added fewer-than-expected nonfarm jobs in the reporting month, "Market participants focused more on the improved jobless rate."

    A sense of caution is likely to remain until the U.S. central bank convenes a monetary policy meeting next week, Ichikawa said.

    The Nikkei benchmark was also pulled down by SoftBank Group after Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. said last week it will delist in the United States. SoftBank Group has invested in Didi.

    SoftBank Group tumbled 411 yen, or 7.4 percent, to 5,148 yen.

    Automakers were weak as the spread of the Omicron variant raised worries that they may suffer more supply chain disruptions.

    Toyota Motor edged down 5.0 yen, or 0.2 percent, to 2,074.0 yen, Nissan Motor dropped 13.1 yen, or 2.3 percent, to 551.4 yen and Mitsubishi Motors dipped 10 yen, or 2.8 percent, to 341 yen.

    On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,071 to 993, while 120 ended the morning unchanged.

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