/ |

Nikkei falls on high-tech sell-off

JIJI

The Nikkei 225 average lost ground again Tuesday, dragged down by falls in technology issues following an overnight plunge in their U.S. peers.

The key market gauge shed 84.78 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 22,622.38. On Monday, it fell 111.87 points.

By contrast, the Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 4.10 points, or 0.23 percent, higher at 1,790.97 after retreating 9.66 points Monday.

With investor sentiment battered by the yen’s rise against the dollar, the TSE opened lower, pushing the Nikkei over 180 points down in the morning session.

Stocks trimmed their losses later thanks to buying on dips prompted by a halt to the yen’s strengthening, helping the Topix rebound into positive territory in the afternoon session.

The Nikkei, however, remained in negative territory throughout the day as semiconductor-related and other technology issues met with selling following a tumble of the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index, brokers said.

The Nikkei’s retreat reflected “falls in heavyweight components, such as electronics issues,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co., said the TSE was hit by profit-taking after the recent surge because the size of the Nasdaq’s drop was “relatively large.”

Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., noted that the market’s downside was underpinned by brisk earnings at Japanese companies.

The market had “no factor to trigger heavy selling,” Fujii stressed.

Despite the Nikkei’s decline, rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,055 to 905 in the first section, while 81 issues were unchanged.

Volume slightly grew to 1.477 billion shares from 1.394 billion Monday.

Semiconductor-linked Tokyo Electron and Sumco sagged 2.83 percent and 4.06 percent, respectively.

The stronger yen battered automakers Toyota, Honda and Subaru, as well as technology firms Kyocera and Panasonic.

By contrast, Fast Retailing was upbeat following its announcement on Monday that same-store sales at its Uniqlo casual wear chain grew 8.9 percent year on year in November, brokers said.

Steel makers Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and JFE Holdings were also buoyant.