Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks fall sharply on profit-taking

JIJI

Stocks took a sharp downturn on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, as investors rushed to lock in gains after the previous day’s surge.

The 225-issue Nikkei average plunged 211.58 points, or 0.90 percent, to end at 23,274.53. On Thursday, the key market gauge jumped 387.82 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues lost 6.24 points, or 0.33 percent, to close at 1,864.20, after gaining 33.73 points the previous day.

The market was hit by active profit-taking from the outset, brokers said.

Stocks accelerated their downswing on futures-led selling later, forcing the key Nikkei average to give up more than 350 points in midmorning.

In the afternoon, however, the market showed some resilience thanks to buying by investors anticipating the Bank of Japan’s purchases of exchange-traded funds, brokers said.

Financials were beaten as worries grew over their earnings following the BOJ’s offer in the morning to unlimitedly purchase 10-year Japanese government bonds at a fixed rate in a bid to curb a rise in long-term interest rates, brokers said.

The central bank conducted such an unlimited purchase operation for the first time in some seven months after the yield on the newest 10-year JGB issue approached 0.1 percent. No financial institutions responded to the purchase offer at 0.11 percent.

An official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said that the market’s downside was underpinned by “buybacks of firms that released brisk earnings results in the afternoon.”

Friday’s fall can be attributed to “investor concerns about a further correction in the U.S. stock market,” said Hideyuki Suzuki, head of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co.

Players were reluctant to buy before seeing the U.S. government’s job data for January due out later on Friday, Suzuki also said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,186 to 808 in the TSE’s first section, while 70 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to 1.70 billion shares from 1.82 billion shares on Thursday.

Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho and insurers Sompo Holdings and Tokio Marine were downbeat along with other issues in the financial sector.

ANA lost 4.06 percent as the airline’s operating profit estimate fell short of market consensus.

Also on the minus side were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and technology firm Kyocera.

By contrast, Kao attracted hefty purchases on the daily goods manufacturer’s brisk earnings results for 2017 and strong operating profit forecast for the current business year ending in December.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 120 points to close at 23,320.