TOKYO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index touched a
near four-week low on Friday, tracking weak overnight
performance on Wall Street, with technology heavyweights leading
the losses, while concerns over the impact of the Omicron
variant also curbed risk appetite.
The Nikkei share average was down 1.9% at 27,937.76,
as of 0200 GMT, after falling below 28,000 for the first time
since Dec. 20. The broader Topix dropped 2.06% to
The Nikkei lost about 2% so far this week and Topix slipped
1.6% for the week.
"The Japanese market fell too much today - it dropped more
than the Dow and S&P overnight. Sentiment has been weakened by
the expected rate hikes in the United States so there are not
many buyers for Japanese shares," said Jun Morita, general
manager of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.
All major indexes on Wall Street closed lower, with the
tech-heavy Nasdaq leading losses after a three-day rally, amid
talks signalling that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates
as early as in March.
"Investors are also worried about the Omicron impact. Japan
was faring better than other countries, but now the number of
infections have started surging here as well."
Tokyo recorded a new four-month high in COVID-19 infections
on Thursday, and experts forecast the spread of the Omicron will
cause the daily count to triple by month's end.
Staffing agency Recruit Holdings, which many
investors see as a tech stock due to its holding in U.S. online
job search firm Indeed, dragged down the Nikkei the most with a
Robot maker Fanuc fell 4.81% and air-conditioner
maker Daikin Industries slipped 4.07%.
Fast Retailing jumped 7.17%, as the owner of Uniqlo
clothing stores said it would have to raise pries of some
products due to higher costs for raw materials and shipping.
Hitachi gave up early gains to fall 1.21% after
local media reported the conglomerate would sell part of its
stake in Hitachi Construction Machinery.
Hitachi Construction tumbled 17.52%.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)