Stocks lost further ground on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Wednesday, hit by selling to lock in profits in thin trading amid investors sitting on the fences to watch developments related to the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 129.47 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 21,596.81. On Tuesday, the key market gauge sagged 95.76 points.
The TOPIX index of all first-section issues closed down 3.98 points, or 0.25 percent, at 1,615.25, after dropping 8.36 points the previous day.
Both Nikkei and TOPIX remained in negative territory throughout the session, pressured by persistent profit-taking while the yen’s weakening against the dollar and Wall Street advance were pausing, brokers said.
But active trading was held in check, due to the absence of fresh market-moving factors, they added.
New York’s subdued mood “spilled over into Tokyo,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities Ltd.
The New York market ended lower for the second straight session Tuesday after choppy trading despite several strong U.S. economic data and earnings results, with buying sentiment dampened to a certain extent by reported remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that President Donald Trump would reject any trade deal with China that is not perfect.
Investors refrained from active trading in Tokyo also in view of the growing possibility of Beijing not making concessions easily in talks over intellectual properties, Kuramochi said.
He also suggested that selling to unwind cross-shareholdings could have contributed to the day’s drop.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,291 to 737 in the TSE’s first section, while 105 issues were unchanged.
Volume decreased to 1,016 million shares from Tuesday’s 1,106 million shares.
Oils were lower, with Showa Shell losing 2.41 percent, Idemitsu 1.83 percent and Cosmo Energy 1.52 percent.
Ono Pharmaceutical fell 2 percent after JP Morgan Securities Japan Co. revised down its investment rating and stock target price for the company.
Among other major losers were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and semiconductor-linked Sumco.
Meanwhile, defense-related issues shot up on a South Korean news report about a possible North Koran move to revive part of its missile program. Ishikawa Seisakusho jumped 6.02 percent and Howa Machinery 5.38 percent.
Internet service firm CyberAgent gained 5.96 percent thanks to buybacks.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 160 points to end at 21,590.