Stocks turned lower Tuesday, dragged down by selling to cash in gains in the preceding sessions.
The Nikkei 225 average fell 96.42 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 20,622.91. On Monday, the key price gauge gained 53.26 points.
The Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, closed 9.94 points, or 0.63 percent, lower at 1,556.43. It rose 8.78 points Monday.
After fluctuating around the previous day’s closing levels, both the Nikkei and Topix headed south in the afternoon as profit-taking grew amid a dearth of major buying incentives, market sources said.
The market was hurt by “small-lot selling while trading was extremely thin,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
From Monday’s 1.127 billion shares, volume in the first section fell to 1.010 billion, the lowest level since Aug. 24.
Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division of Akatsuki Securities Inc., said investors found few trading factors because the U.S. market was closed Monday and prior to the release later this month of earnings results by major Japanese companies.
Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., observed that profit-taking took the upper hand in the afternoon following a news report that the United States will soon make a formal request for Canada to hand over Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.
Hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks receded to some extent, he pointed out.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,466 to 573 in the first section, while 88 issues were unchanged.
News curation app provider Gunosy tumbled 7.89 percent following its advance recently.
Also weaker were clothing retailer Fast Retailing and chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron.
By contrast, airlines JAL and ANA bounced back.
Optical equipment producer Olympus and convenience store operator FamilyMart Uny were drew buying as well.