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Tokyo stocks end slightly lower in directionless trading

JIJI

Stocks closed slightly lower in directionless trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, with vigorous transactions held in check due to concerns over escalating trade tensions between the United States and China.

The Nikkei 225 average lost 17.86 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 22,507.32. On Friday, the key market gauge inched up 12.65 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues dropped 9.68 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,732.90, after falling 9.51 points the previous trading day.

Both indexes were firmer in morning trading, with investor sentiment lifted by solid gains in Chinese stocks, market sources said.

In the afternoon, however, the indexes lost steam and sank into negative territory as Chinese stocks turned lower.

The Tokyo stock market was dragged down by “uncertainty over the course of the U.S.-China trade dispute,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Investors also retreated to the sidelines to await the outcome of trade talks between Japan and the United States set for Thursday in Washington, Ota said.

“Trading was lackluster,” an asset management firm official said. The official noted that a number of major Japanese firms have failed to report strong forecasts in the midst of the earnings reporting season.

Ota said the slide in the Tokyo stock market was limited as Wall Street’s advance on Friday “provided investors with psychological support.”

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,486 to 540 in the TSE’s first section, while 77 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to 1.350 billion shares from 1.399 billion shares on Friday.

Subaru fell 1.04 percent after the automaker reported on Monday a group operating profit of ¥57,576 million for April-June, short of analysts’ consensus estimate of some ¥65 billion, brokers said.

Toray dropped 1.56 percent as the textile maker’s April-June group operating profit of ¥33,871 million, announced Monday, fell short of analysts’ forecasts of some ¥38.4 billion, brokers said.

Other major losers included general contractor Taisei and semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron.

Isuzu climbed 3.61 percent after the automaker reported on Friday record group operating and net profits for April-June, brokers said.

Also on the plus side were mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group and information technology services provider NTT Data.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average ended down 20 points at 22,490.