Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks head south ahead of key events and earnings reports

JIJI

Stocks turned lower in thin trading Monday as investors refrained from making big moves ahead of a series of key events abroad and earnings releases from major companies in and outside Japan.

The Nikkei 225 average lost 124.56 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 20,649.00. On Friday, the key market gauge rose 198.93 points.

The Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, finished 10.59 points, or 0.68 percent, lower at 1,555.51 after rising 13.50 points Monday. It was the first drop in three market days.

Both indexes moved in negative territory throughout the day, with market players taking a wait-and-see stance, brokers said.

Among the key overseas events are the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policymaking meeting starting Tuesday and ministerial-level trade talks between the United States and China in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tokyo stocks were also pressured by the yen’s advance reflecting a recent report by The Wall Street Journal that the Fed is considering an early end to its balance sheet reduction, brokers said.

“Investors found few reasons to buy stocks today,” an official of a Japanese brokerage firm said, adding that muted trading will likely continue Tuesday, prior to the closely watched events.

Tokyo stocks will unlikely show a clear direction this week, said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc., indicating the market has priced in any possible negative factors while a lack of fresh buying incentives is expected.

Wall Street’s reaction to the upcoming key events requires attention, Otani said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,498 to 560 on the first section, while 69 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.065 billion shares from 1.330 billion Friday.

Fujitsu General sagged 5.66 percent after the air conditioner maker announced Friday it was lowering its consolidated earnings forecast for the year to March.

Profit-taking hit Kabu.com Securities after the online brokerage firm surged in the previous two sessions.

Other major losers included Nintendo and Nissan.

Among winners were chip-related Tokyo Electron and Advantest.