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With lack of positive incentives, Tokyo stocks turn lower

JIJI

Stocks fell back in thin trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with the market facing a dearth of major positive incentives.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 151.86 points, or 0.68 percent, to end at 22,204.22. On Tuesday, the key market gauge jumped 498.65 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished down 12.92 points, or 0.76 percent, at 1,698.03, after advancing 27.45 points the previous day.

Soon after opening firmer, the key market yardsticks turned lower on the back of selling on a rally.

They sank deeper into negative territory later due chiefly to futures-led selling inspired by the sluggishness of other Asian markets, brokers said.

“Buying was held in check since trading was thin amid the Bon holiday period in Japan,” an official of a bank-linked securities firm said, adding that investors retreated to the sidelines to watch the movements of the Turkish lira.

The Nikkei average lost as much as 245 points briefly in the afternoon as futures-led selling grew on rekindled concerns over the lira’s renewed tumble following media reports that Turkey has increased its tariffs on some products imported from the United States, brokers said.

Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., noted that the key stock market gauges headed south in afternoon trading in the absence of the Bank of Japan’s purchases of exchange-traded funds.

He traced the lack of the central bank’s ETF buying to the stock market’s relatively small losses in the morning.

Market players failed to find fresh buying incentives after a corporate earnings reporting season in Japan has ended, one market source said.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,618 to 422 on the TSE’s first section, while 64 issues were unchanged.

Volume totaled 1.24 billion shares, compared with Tuesday’s 1.20 billion.

Oil wholesaler Idemitsu ended down 2.69 percent. The company attracted buying in early trading after announcing Tuesday an upward revision to its fiscal 2018 group earnings forecasts. But the issue succumbed to selling pressure later.

Also on the minus side were mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group and industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc.

In contrast, online fashion mall operator Start Today rose for the first time in eight market days.

Other major gainers included advertising agency Dentsu and parcel delivery company Yamato Holdings.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average fell 140 points to 22,180.