Japan-related stocks fall, Aeon drops on protest fears
Reuters in Hong Kong and Tokyo
Shares of Japanese-related retailers came under pressure on Monday on worries about the impact of anti-Japan protests on their business, with department store operator Aeon Stores (Hong Kong) falling to its lowest in seven months.
Major Japanese firms have temporarily shut factories and offices in China after one of the worst outbreaks of anti-Japan sentiment in decades.
Mainland demonstrators looted shops and attacked Japanese cars on the weekend to protest Japan’s decision to buy disputed East China Sea islands, which Tokyo calls Senkaku and Beijing calls Diaoyu, from a private Japanese owner.
“All Japan-related shares are under selling pressure as investors stayed away from those stocks, from chain operators to auto makers, which could be affected by anti-Japan protests,” said Andrew To, a research director from Emperor Capital.
Aeon Store, controlled by Aeon Company, fell as much as 7.3 per cent to HK$18.72, their lowest since February 1. The stock was down 7 per cent at 1.27pm, lagging a 0.2 per cent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
“Whichever company has a Japanese name is seen under pressure as investors worry that their bottom line will be hit if the protest continues,” said Alfred Chan, chief dealer at Cheer Pearl Investment.
Shares of Japanese-style noodle chain Ajisen (China) Holdings fell as much as 9.3 per cent to their lowest since September 7.
Springland International Holdings said in a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange that its Changxing Yaohan department store and Changxing Datonghua supermarket were damaged by protesters in Changxing city in Zhejiang province at the weekend, with losses estimated at millions of yuan.
The stock was down 0.8 per cent in early afternoon trade.
The Hong Kong shares of Guangzhou Automobile Group, a joint venture partner of Mitsubishi Motors , fell nearly 5 per cent.
Japanese electronics firm Canon will stop production at three of its four Chinese factories on Monday and Tuesday, citing concerns over employees’ safety, Japanese media reports said, while All Nippon Airways reported a rise in cancellations on Japan-bound flights from China.
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has suspended production at two electronics components factories and closed another, telling workers to stay at home after the facilities were attacked by anti-Japan protesters.
The factories where production was suspended will be reopened after assessing the damage.
Atsushi Hinoki, a Tokyo-based Panasonic spokesman, said another plant in China has been closed after several workers “sabotaged” operations in the factory. The plant will also remain closed until Tuesday.
Toyota and Honda reported arson attacks had badly damaged their stores in Qingdao.
Tokyo has warned its citizens about large-scale protests in China on Tuesday, when China commemorates the anniversary of Japan’s 1931 occupation of parts of mainland China.