Japan stocks fall as airlines halt bookings on Omicron scare
05:13, 2 December 2021
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped on Thursday to hover above near two-month lows as airlines halted incoming international flight bookings after a second case of Omicron Covid-19 variant was detected in the nation.
Japan’s transportation ministry asked airlines to halt flight reservations for incoming flights to Japan until next year in what was described as an “emergency measure”, according to local media reports.
The island nation’s two largest airlines All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have stopped accepting bookings from Wednesday, reported government-owned broadcaster NHK.
Japan down, Australia flat
Japan’s flag carrier Japan Airlines fell 1.4% while aviation business firm ANA Holdings erased early losses to trade close to flat after lunch.
Benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4% to 27,832.97 by Thursday afternoon. Energy and tech firms were top drags on the index.
Elsewhere, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index trimmed early losses to trade flat by late afternoon on Thursday.
What is your sentiment on J225?
Tech and miners lose in Australia
Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay was on track to see its worst day in nearly five months, down over 6%, after it postponed a shareholder meeting scheduled to approve its acquisition by US-based fintech Square.
S&P/ASX All Technology index lost 2.5% on Thursday as software-as-a-service company Xero and online employment marketplace Seek combined with Afterpay losses, falling over 5% and over 1.5%, respectively.
Troubled Australian casino operator Crown Resorts rose 0.9% after the company allowed suitor Blackstone access to its books to conduct due diligence and to counter with an improved takeover offer.
Hong Kong up on banks and properties
Australia’s S&P/ASX 300 Metal & Mining index declined 1.2% as global miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto slipped 0.4% and 1.4%, respectively, in Sydney on Thursday.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index extended gains to rise 0.1% higher to 23,692 by lunch break as banks and property firms gained most on Thursday.