(Reuters) – Shares of Japanese sports-wear makers and advertising agencies have fallen this year, after a strong rally in 2019, on worries that a worldwide coronavirus outbreak could scupper the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Japan has been preparing for years and has invested some $12 billion in the Olympics, which start on July 24.
The government has said it will go ahead in preparing to host the Olympics as planned even as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Japan hit 1,000 on Wednesday.
The government has asked schools to close, companies are encouraging employees to work from home and sporting events have been cancelled or postponed, heightening concerns the Games will also be cancelled.
Crowds will be smaller and receptions have been scrapped at the Tokyo 2020 torch lighting ceremony at the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece next week.
(GRAPHIC – Price performance of Olympics -involved stocks: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/2837/2802/Dashboard-4Mar.jpg)
Sports-wear maker Asics Corp <7936.T>, which gained more than 50% in the second half of 2019, has shed about 28% over the past month.
Dentsu Group Inc <4324.T>, Japan’s largest advertising agency and the main marketing agency for the Tokyo games and its rival Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc <2433.T> have fallen about 22% and 20%, respectively, in the past month.
Since the start of this year, analysts have slashed their forward 12-month earnings estimates on Asics Corp and Dentsu Group by 24% and 6%, respectively, according to Refinitiv data.
Shares of Japan’s top two security firms also felt the pinch, with Sohgo Security Services Ltd <2331.T> down 12%, while industry leader Secom Co Ltd <9735.T> lost 11% in the past month.
Consumer retail firms, transportation infrastructure, hotels and restaurants were the hardest hit, the data showed.
Most of these firms have underperformed Japan’s Nikkei <.N225> and broader Topix stock index <.TOPX>.
(GRAPHIC – Japan Olympic stocks vs broader indexes: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/2839/2804/Dash-4March.jpg)
(Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Jacqueline Wong)