The key Nikkei average closed moderately lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Thursday, after struggling for direction amid a dearth of fresh trading factors.
The Nikkei 225 sagged 40.48 points, or 0.20 percent, to end at 20,402.27. On Wednesday, the key market gauge dropped 112.54 points.
Meanwhile, the Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 5.43 points, or 0.35 percent, at 1,543.20. It retreated 4.95 points the previous day.
The market got off to a higher start following a continued rise on Wall Street and maintained strength for a while. But hit by selling on a rally, the Nikkei sank into negative territory around midmorning.
In afternoon trading, the key yardstick fluctuated narrowly around the previous day’s closing level amid a dearth of fresh incentives, while the Topix remained in positive territory, brokers said.
“Trading was lackluster” with participants retreating to the sidelines ahead of announcements of earnings results by major Japanese companies later this month, said Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.
Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., forecast that the Nikkei would be confined within a tight range between 20,000 and 20,500 due to a lack of powerful market-moving factors before the full-fledged earnings season begins.
“A risk-averse mood receded for the time being” after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government survived a no-confidence vote Wednesday, said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
But investors refrained from active trading as they found it necessary to keep watching the Brexit problem, Ota added.
Despite the Nikkei’s weakness, rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,366 to 682 in the TSE’s first section, while 80 issues were unchanged.
Volume fell to 1.148 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.209 billion shares.
Retailer Ryohin Keikaku ended 2.72 percent lower on loss-cutting selling, brokers said.
Semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron and clothing store chain Fast Retailing were also among major losers.
By contrast, megabank groups including Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui attracted purchases after U.S. financial giant Goldman Sachs fared well on the New York Stock Exchange the previous day.
Other winners included cosmetics producer Shiseido and automaker Suzuki.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average sagged 80 points to 20,350.