TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index closed lower on Thursday to mark its worst quarterly show in two years, as investors locked in gains from stocks they bought during a rally this month. The Nikkei share average ended 0.73% lower at 27,821.43. The broader Topix fell 1.08% to 1,946.40. For the quarter, the Nikkei lost 3.37%, its biggest drop since the quarter ended March 2020, when global economies first witnessed the outbreak of COVID-19. “Investors continued to sell stocks from yesterday, especially those they bought to secure dividend payouts,” said Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager at the research department at Tachibana Securities. “But the outlook of the market is not bad, and the market recovered quite quickly from aggressive sell-offs, which was caused by uncertainties due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.” For the month, the Nikkei posted its biggest jump since November 2020, adding 4.88%, after falling to its lowest level since that month. On Thursday, staffing agency Recruit Holdings weighed on the Nikkei the most, falling 3.75%, followed by technology investor SoftBank Group , which fell 1.3%. Drugmaker Chugai Pharmaceutical lost 2.13%. Auto and parts makers reversed course to fall 0.34% even after Toyota Motor boosted their global auto production in February. Toyota erased most of its earlier gains to edge up 0.18% and Honda changed course to fall 0.57%. Shipping firms jumped 5.21%, leading the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry subindexes, followed by paper and pulp makers , rising 0.99%. There were 32 advancers on the Nikkei index against 190 decliners. The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.34 billion, compared to the average of 1.37 billion in the past 30 days.
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