Tokyo shares fall after Iran attack on Israel

TOKYO – Tokyo stocks opened lower Monday after Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone strikes on Israel raised fears of wider conflict in the region, while the yen remained under pressure.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.22 percent, or 481.67 points, to 39,041.88, while the broader Topix index gave up 1.00 percent, or 27.68 points, to 2,731.96.

The rising crisis in the Middle East weighed on the global market after Iran staged missile and drone strikes on Israel following a deadly April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in Syrian capital Damascus that was widely blamed on Israel.

“The Tokyo market was under pressure as tension rises in the Middle East,” brokerage house Monex said.

“A focus now is whether bargain hunters will pick up shares once the Nikkei touches the psychologically key 39,000 level,” it added.

Investors are assessing the events’ impact, said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management. 

“While the drone attack has grabbed headlines, its immediate impact on global markets, particularly oil prices and inflation concerns, may be subdued,” he said.

“However, the situation remains fluid, and headline risk will likely dominate for a while.”

The dollar stood at 153.36 yen as the Japanese unit hovered around its lowest level in more than three decades and near 153.24 yen in New York on Friday.

Sony Group dropped 2.07 percent to 12,770 yen, and Toyota gave up 1.41 percent to 3,714 yen.

Major semiconductor shares fell. Tokyo Electron lost 1.80 percent to 38,790 yen and Advantest fell 2.44 percent to 5,870 yen.

Energy developer Inpex fell 0.27 percent to 2,587.5 yen. Heavily weighted Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo brand, lost 1.64 percent to 41,470 yen. –AFP