Company News

Topix sinks to near 4-month low as Apple warning hurts tech shares

TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Japanese shares fell on Tuesday, with the broad Topix index finishing at its weakest in nearly four months, as investors sold tech firms after Apple Inc warned it will likely miss quarterly revenue targets due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei average fell 1.4% to a two-week low of 23,193.80, while the Topix index dropped 1.3% to 1,665.71, its lowest close since late October.

All but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were trading lower, with electric machinery, metal products and machinery, becoming the worst three performers.

Apple told investors late on Monday that its manufacturing facilities in China that produce iPhone and other electronics have begun to re-open, but are ramping up slower than expected.

Among its Japanese suppliers, electric parts maker Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd shed 3.4% and Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd , which produces ceramic capacitors for iPhones, lost 5.7%, while battery maker TDK Corp sank 4.2%.

Also hurting market sentiment was news that the Trump administration was considering changing U.S. regulations to allow it to block shipments of chips to Huawei Technologies from companies such as Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker.

Tokyo-listed semiconductor equipment supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd tumbled 4.8%, while semiconductor test equipment maker Advantest Corp plummeted 5.8%.

Benchmark Nikkei’s heavyweight SoftBank Group (SBG) declined 4.9% after Indian startup Oyo Hotels and Homes, one of the SBG’s high-profile bets, said losses widened more than six-fold in the year ended March 2019.

Nissan Motor Co fell 1.6% as its new chief executive officer said he would accept being fired if he fails to turn around the troubled automaker at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Asics Corp, one of the sponsors of Tokyo Marathon, slid 3.1% after organisers of the March 1 race said the 38,000 general participants who signed up for the event will not be allowed to compete, citing coronavirus fears.

In China, the number of new virus cases dropped to 1,886 on Monday from 2,048 the day before. Outside of China, there are 827 cases in 26 countries and regions and five deaths, according to a Reuters count based on official statements.

Small-cap markets also lost ground, with the index of startup-heavy Mothers market shedding 2.4%, its biggest one-day decline in nearly three weeks. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Arun Koyyur)