Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Stocks lose further ground on yen’s ascent

JIJI

Stocks lost further ground on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, weighed down by the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 56.61 points, or 0.24 percent, to end at 23,653.82, after falling 77.77 points Thursday.

The TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues closed down 11.85 points, or 0.63 percent, at 1,876.24, after shedding 4.02 points the previous day.

The yen’s rise triggered profit-taking, brokers said.

The Nikkei was directionless as stocks were caught in a tug of war between selling to cash in gains and purchases inspired by brisk earnings reported on Thursday by clothing store operator Fast Retailing, a heavyweight component of the key market gauge, brokers said.

The TOPIX stayed in negative territory throughout Friday’s session as the yen’s rise hurt export-oriented names, according to market sources.

Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co., said that the yen’s appreciation did not allow Japanese stocks to mirror gains in U.S. equities on Thursday, when all three major U.S. stock indexes —the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index —hit record closing highs.

An official of a bank-linked securities firm said that nonresidents moved to lock in profits ahead of the weekend.

While taking a similar view, Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., said that the market’s sentiment “was not bad.”

“Investor appetite for bargain hunting was solid,” he said.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,385 to 596 in the TSE’s first section, while 82 issues were unchanged.

Volume grew to 1.67 billion shares from 1.58 billion shares on Thursday.

Automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda as well as technology firms Canon, Panasonic, Kyocera and Murata Manufacturing were downbeat on the stronger yen.

Oil companies Inpex and JXTG met with selling to cash in gains after their recent advances.

Other major losers included retailer Seven & i Holdings and glasses shop operator Jins.

By contrast, Fast Retailing jumped 6.00 percent on a 28.6 percent jump in its September-November consolidated operating profit from a year before.

Also on the plus side were consumer electronics retailer Bic Camera and game maker Nintendo.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average closed down 10 points at 23,640.