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Nikkei ends 5-session winning streak on profit-taking

JIJI

The 225-issue Nikkei average snapped its five-session winning streak on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday, hurt by selling to lock in gains.

The Nikkei lost 28.94 points, or 0.13 percent, to end at 22,162.24. On Thursday, it rose 32.98 points.

By contrast, the Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 0.95 points, or 0.05 percent, at 1,751.13, after edging up 0.51 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market opened weaker following Wall Street’s retreat on Thursday, with the Nikkei briefly losing over 110 points in morning trading.

But stocks soon attracted buybacks in line with the yen’s weakening against the dollar, sending both the Nikkei and Topix into positive territory.

Later, the market was caught in a tug of war between profit-taking and buying on dips, and the key market gauges fluctuated around the previous day’s closing levels, brokers said.

“Semiconductor-related and other high-tech issues suffered heavy sell-offs” after their U.S. peers fared poorly in New York trading on Thursday, an official at a bank-linked securities firm said.

“Position-adjustment selling ahead of the weekend” hit the market, Akira Tanoue, senior investment strategist at Nomura Securities Co., said.

The market was overshadowed by “domestic political risks,” Tanoue also said, suggesting that investor sentiment was dampened by a recent series of scandals plaguing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.

The market’s downside was limited thanks to the dollar’s rise above ¥107.50, brokers said.

Despite the Nikkei’s drop, rising issues slightly outnumbered falling ones 989 to 978 in the TSE’s first section, while 115 issues were unchanged.

Trading volume fell to 1.42 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.58 billion shares.

Tokyo Electron, Sumco, Advantest, Shin-Etsu Chemical and other semiconductor-linked names met with heavy selling.

Other major losers included industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc and tobacco-maker JT.

By contrast, gains in financial stocks in New York trading on Thursday lifted megabank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui, as well as insurers Tokio Marine, Sompo Holdings and Dai-ichi Life.

Also on the plus side were cosmetics-maker Shiseido and clothing retailer Fast Retailing.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average fell 40 points to 22,160.