TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday by
the most in over two weeks after data showed the country's
economy shrank at a record pace in the second quarter as the
COVID-19 pandemic crimped consumer spending.
Investors took the data in their stride and locked in profits
as the economy slowly emerges from lockdowns. Markets did not
react to a domestic media report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
has entered hospital for an examination.
Industrial and healthcare stocks pulled down the Nikkei 225
Index 0.83% to 23,096.75, its biggest one-day fall since
July 31. The broader Topix was down 0.84%.
Some investors sold shares of companies that recently
reported favourable earnings. Others booked profits on companies
in health care and technology that have risen sharply due to
expectations that these sectors would benefit from the pandemic.
"The stock market could take some time to catch its breath,
because it has already priced in a lot of positive factors,"
said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo
Mitsui Asset Management Co.
"I don't expect a big sell off. Countries have been able to
balance containing the virus without restricting economic
The underperformers among the top 30 Topix names were job
placement company Recruit Holdings Co Ltd, down 3.17%,
followed by drugs maker Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, losing
The Topix 30 stocks that gained the most were industrial
conglomerate Hitachi Ltd, up 1.15%, followed by Honda
automaker Motor Co Ltd, gaining 0.7%.
There were 44 advancers on the Nikkei index against 173
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's
main board was 0.82 billion, compared with the average
of 1.22 billion in the past 30 days.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Aditya