TOKYO, June 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index on Friday
posted its biggest weekly drop in more than two years, tracking
Wall Street's plunge, even as the Bank of Japan maintained its
massive stimulus and provided no negative surprises.
The Nikkei share average ended 1.77% lower at
25,963.00, its lowest close since May 12, after falling as much
as 2.7% earlier in the session.
The index, which lost five sessions in six, pared some
losses after the central bank's announcement, but still posted a
weekly drop of 6.6%, the sharpest loss since the week ended
April 3, 2020.
The broader Topix lost 1.71% to 1,835,90, shedding
5.5% in the week.
"The Nikkei eased declines after the Bank of Japan kept its
monetary policy unchanged, which meant that the yen's weakness
would continue and that is positive to Japanese companies," said
Shogo Maekawa, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset
The Bank of Japan maintained ultra-low interest rates on
Friday and its guidance to keep borrowing costs at "present or
lower" levels, signalling its resolve to focus on supporting the
economy's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. stocks closed sharply lower overnight in a broad
sell-off, as recession fears grew following moves by central
banks around the globe to stamp out rising inflation after the
U.S. Federal Reserve's largest rate hike since 1994.
"Going forward, the market's focus will be shifted to
economic indicators from central banks' policy tightening.
Investors will be sensitive to any negative signs for the
economy," said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the
research department at Tachibana Securities.
In Japan, technology heavyweights led losses on the Nikkei,
with chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron
shedding 5.04% and chip-testing equipment maker Advantest
losing 4.09%. Technology investor SoftBank Group
Car and parts makers lost 3.23% as the yen
regained its strength against the dollar.
Toyota Motor and Honda Motor fell 3.6% and
2.69%, respectively. Parts maker Denso slipped 4.71%.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita, additional reorting by Tokyo
markets team; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shailesh Kuber)