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Tokyo stocks end tad lower after directionless trade

JIJI

Stocks closed marginally lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday after moving directionlessly amid a dearth of fresh trading factors.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 10.48 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 22,696.90. On Monday, the key market gauge shed 157.77 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 2.07 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,718.24, after retreating 15.04 points the previous day.

Investors found it difficult to make major moves after the U.S. stock market was closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday, brokers said.

Market players retreated to the sidelines to wait to see further developments in the U.S.-Canada talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, set to resume Wednesday, the brokers said.

Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., said, “A wait-and-see mood intensified” ahead of the releases of U.S. economic indicators later this week, such as the U.S. government’s jobs data for August due out Friday.

Fujii also said the market did not meet heavy selling because “Japanese stocks are seen as undervalued.”

“The downside (of the market) was supported by buying on dips backed by brisk corporate earnings,” said an official of a midsize securities firm.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,169 to 838 in the TSE’s first section, while 98 issues were unchanged.

Volume edged down to 1.062 billion shares from 1.083 billion shares Monday.

Beverage producer Ito En closed 8.78 percent lower on its disappointing profits for May-July, announced Monday, brokers said.

Clothing retailer Fast Retailing Co. and advertising agency Dentsu Inc. were also on the minus side.

By contrast, department store operator Matsuya Co. ended 5.55 percent higher as investors took heart from its brisk sales in August.

Also higher were Tokai Carbon Co. and retailer FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average finished up 60 points at 22,770.