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Tokyo stocks turn down on profit-taking

JIJI

Stocks turned lower Tuesday, dragged down by profit-taking after their recent advances.

The Nikkei 225 average shed 47.84 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 22,818.02 after rising 107.38 points Monday.

The Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was down 0.77 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,805.15. It gained 10.96 points the previous day.

Both indexes dropped for the first time in four trading days.

The Nikkei ended the morning session marginally lower after fluctuating in a narrow range around Monday’s closing.

The index expanded its loss in the afternoon, with investors cashing in gains following its recent rise close to 23,000, market sources said.

The Topix stayed in positive territory for most of the day, thanks partly to the brisk performances of banks, but it lost steam toward the close under the weight of profit-taking.

“The market lacked major fresh trading incentives, with the earnings reporting season in Japan peaking out,” said Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.

Active buying was held in check ahead of the release Wednesday of Japan’s preliminary gross domestic product data for January-March, Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Co., noted.

Meanwhile, Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said that the market’s downside was solid “thanks to the yen’s weakening” against the dollar.

Some market players were heartened to see the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average rise for eight straight market days through Monday, he indicated.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,007 to 994 on the first section, while 82 issues were unchanged.

Volume grew to 1.730 billion shares from 1,519 billion Monday.

Mitsubishi Estate lost 5.20 percent on its weaker than expected earnings forecast for fiscal 2018, released Monday, brokers said.

Takeda Pharmaceutical sagged 2.15 percent after announcing on Monday that its fiscal 2018 consolidated operating profit is projected to tumble 16.9 percent from the previous year to ¥201 billion, falling short of the market’s consensus estimate of ¥218.3 billion, they said.

Other major losers included mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group and cosmetics maker Shiseido.

By contrast, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 2.09 percent after the mega-bank group announced Monday an own share buyback plan.

Also on the plus side were clothing retailer Fast Retailing and automaker Suzuki.