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Japan’s Nikkei falls as Wall Street lukewarm finish, Omicron woes weigh in

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TOKYO – Japan’s Nikkei Index ended lower on Friday, following a weak late night on Wall Street with tech heavyweights leading the losses, as concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant also reduced risk appetite.

The Nikkei stock average ended down 1.28% at 28,124.28, after falling more than 2% to an almost four-week low. The larger Topix lost 1.39% to 1,977.66.

The Nikkei lost 1.2% this week and the Topix slipped 0.9% for the week.

“The Japanese market fell a lot today – it fell more than the Dow Jones and the S&P overnight. Sentiment has been weakened by the expected rate hikes in the United States, so there aren’t many buyers for Japanese stocks, ”said Jun Morita, managing director of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.

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All major Wall Street indices closed lower, with the tech-rich Nasdaq leading losses after a three-day rally, amid talk of the US Federal Reserve hitting rates as early as March.

“Investors are also concerned about the impact of Omicron. Japan was doing better than other countries, but now the number of infections has started to increase here as well. “

Tokyo on Thursday set a new record of four months of COVID-19 infections, and experts predict the spread of the Omicron will triple the daily count by the end of the month.

Recruit Holdings, which many investors see as a tech stock because of its stake in U.S. online job search firm Indeed, lowered the Nikkei the most with a 4.64% drop .

Robot maker Fanuc fell 5.12% and air conditioner maker Daikin Industries slipped 2.77%.

Fast Retailing countered the heavyweight trend of the index, jumping 8.07% as the owner of clothing stores Uniqlo said he is expected to raise prices for some products due to higher raw material costs and of the expedition.

Hitachi gave up its initial earnings to fall 0.36% after local media reported that the conglomerate would sell part of its stake in Hitachi Construction Machinery. Hitachi Construction fell 16.99%.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)