Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei falls for fourth straight session on yen’s rise

JIJI

The 225-issue Nikkei average fell for the fourth straight session on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, weighed down by the yen’s rise against the dollar.

The Nikkei shed 2.54 points, or 0.01 percent, to end at 23,629.34. On Friday, the key market gauge lost 37.61 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished up 1.06 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,880.45, after retreating 5.17 points the previous trading day.

Tokyo stocks got off to a firmer start after all three major U.S. stock indexes — the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index — rewrote their closing highs on Friday.

The Tokyo market gathered steam backed by brisk earnings reports by some domestic companies, pushing up the Nikkei average by over 150 points by midmorning, brokers said.

The benchmark index, however, took a sharp downturn to fall into negative territory in early afternoon trading, as investors moved to cash in gains in view of the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

The Nikkei struggled for direction for the rest of trading, staying around Friday’s closing level, with profit-taking and buying on dips vying with each other, brokers said.

Topix, meanwhile, stayed in positive territory almost throughout the day.

“The stronger yen weighed on the day’s market,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

The yen was supported by the lingering effects of remarks by Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday that inflation is “finally” moving close to the central bank’s 2 percent target, according to market sources.

The dollar regained strength to some extent toward midmorning. But its failure to recover to ¥109 prompted investors to sell stocks to take profits, said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co.

Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., pointed out that the yen’s appreciation particularly dampened foreign players’ buying sentiment.

Despite the Nikkei’s weaker finish, rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,129 to 828 in the TSE’s first section, while 102 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to 1.33 billion shares, from 1.53 billion shares on Friday.

Daito Trust Construction lost 3.60 percent following the condominium builder’s profit warning Monday for the year through March.

Also on the minus side were game giant Nintendo and cosmetics maker Shiseido.

By contrast, Shin-Etsu Chemical jumped 4.64 percent on a rosy profit estimate for the same year, released on Friday.

Medical information provider M3 was also bought, thanks to its robust earnings results for April-December last year.