Nikkei 225 drops sharply on COVID variant fears

Tokyo's benchmark stock index dropped sharply on Friday, as reports of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa raised fears about the global economic outlook.

The Nikkei Average ended the day at 28,751, down 747 points or 2.5 percent from Thursday's close, finishing below 29,000 for the first time in about a month.

Investors placed sell orders across the board.
The transport sector suffered, as rail and airline companies fell.

Analysts said surging COVID cases in Europe also weighed on market sentiment.