TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei slumped on Friday
to its lowest level in a month as a new coronavirus variant
found in South Africa raised an alarm, while the news that
Beijing has asked Chinese hailing giant Didi to delist
from New York also soured the mood.
The Nikkei average dropped 2.53% to 28,751.62, its
lowest finish since Oct. 25, and posting its biggest daily fall
in more than five months. The broader Topix fell 2.01%
to a six-week closing low of 1,984.98.
For the week, the Nikkei lost 3.3%, while the Topix fell
2.9%, marking the biggest decline since the last week of
"The market's fundamentals have been weak as investors kept
selling when the Nikkei got closer to 30,000," said Kazuharu
Konishi, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset
"So, it easily got damaged by negative news, such as the one
about the new virus variant. Although it might be too rough to
conclude that today's declines were only due to the virus."
The variant, detected in South Africa, may be able to evade
immune responses and has prompted Britain to hurriedly introduce
travel restrictions on South Africa.
The news hit travel-related shares, which had been
benefiting from a surge in domestic consumption due to
successful containment of the virus, the hardest.
Topix airline shares index dropped 5.4% to a
seven-month low while Topix land transport index,
made up mainly of train operators, lost 2.9% to a one-year low.
ANA Holdings fell 4.5% after the airliner raised
funds through a sale of convertible bonds, a move that
highlighted the difficulty facing the industry.
Among railway operators, Keisei Electric Railway
fell 6.3% to become the worst performer in the Nikkei.
Central Japan railway lost 3.3%, while Western
Japan Railway shed 3.2%.
Softbank Group tumbled 5.2% after Bloomberg
reported Chinese regulators have asked top executives of ride
hailing giant Didi Global to devise a plan to delist from the
New York Stock Exchange due to concerns about data security.
The Japanese conglomerate is a large investor in U.S.-listed
Chinese tech firms, including Didi and Alibaba.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Hideyuki Sano; Editing by
Uttaresh V and Shailesh Kuber)