Stocks turned lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pressured by selling a day after the deadline for securing rights to fiscal 2018 year-end dividends.
The 225-issue Nikkei average fell 49.66 points, or 0.23 percent, to end at 21,378.73. On Tuesday, the key market gauge surged 451.28 points.
The Topix index of all first-section issues was down 8.45 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,609.49, after rising 40.53 points the previous day.
Stocks going ex-dividend contributed to falls of some 170 points in the Nikkei average and some 17.5 points in the Topix index, brokers said.
Despite the ex-dividend impact, stocks avoided a serious setback, supported by buybacks following an overnight rise in U.S. equities and the yen’s fall against the dollar, brokers said.
“Considering the ex-dividend impact, Japanese stocks were effectively solid,” said Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co.
But many analysts took a cautious stance on the outlook.
It is difficult to expect the Nikkei to gain further upward momentum, as Japanese companies are expected to offer conservative forecasts at the upcoming earnings reporting season, a brokerage official said.
“There are no fresh incentives strong enough for the Nikkei to test its recent high of around 21,800,” Tabei said.
He added that there are many factors to watch, citing Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, U.S.-China trade tensions and planned Japan-U.S. trade talks.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,266 to 792 in the TSE’s first section, while 67 issues were unchanged.
Volume decreased to 1.311 billion shares from 1.741 billion shares on Tuesday.
Shares of companies with high dividend yields fell sharply. Matsui Securities fell 8.54 percent, and insurer Dai-ichi Life dropped 3.23 percent.
Automakers met with selling. Toyota lost 2.03 percent, and Nissan declined 3.50 percent. Isuzu was down 1.67 percent.
Other major losers included mobile phone carrier KDDI and Advantest, a maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
On the other hand, Nidec gained 3.12 percent after Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co. raised its investment rating and target stock price for the motor-maker.
Also on the plus side were employment information service firm Recruit and clothing retailer Fast Retailing.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 230 points to end at 21,380.