TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average fell more than 1% on Monday, with banks leading losses as investors fretted over the potential fallout of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) collapse last week.
Automakers also slumped amid pressure from a stronger yen, with Mitsubishi Motors pacing declines.
The Nikkei sank 1.11% to 27,832.96 as of the close, though that was well off the day’s low of 27,631.53, the weakest level since March 2.
The broader Topix dropped 1.5% to 2,000.99, after earlier touching 1,987.00 for the first time since March 1.
Banking was the worst performing sector among the 33 industry groups, dropping 4.01%. It was followed by insurance and securities, which fell 3.66% and 2.82% respectively.
Japan’s top government spokesman tried to allay fears over SVB’s fallout, saying he didn’t see it affecting Japan’s lenders.
Transport equipment makers slid 2.34% as the yen pushed to a one-month high versus the dollar.
The domestic slump followed mayhem on Wall Street on Friday, as banking shares tumbled after SVB became the biggest bank failure since the financial crisis.
However, the US Treasury and Federal Reserve announced a range of measures to support the banking system at the weekend, leading US futures to point firmly higher on Monday.
“Stocks will probably rebound to previous levels by Tuesday,” said Nomura equity strategist Kazuo Kamitani, adding that investors will be keeping a close eye on the 25-day moving average at 27,713.
While the outlook for Fed policy has been clouded by SVB’s collapse, Kamitani said that US economic data should remain the primary focus, and “ultimately, what investors need to pay attention to is CPI,” due on Tuesday.
Condordia Financial Group was the worst-performing lender on the Nikkei, down 5.29%. Mizuho slid 4.94%.
Mitsubishi Motors led all Nikkei decliners with a 6.46% plunge, closely followed by Mazda’s 5.96% loss. Nissan slumped 4.95%.
(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Rashmi Aich)