Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks turn broadly lower on apparent profit-taking

JIJI

Stocks surrendered to selling to lock in profits almost across the broad on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, brokers said, forcing the benchmark Nikkei average to snap its five-session winning streak.

The 225-issue Nikkei average dived 187.85 points, or 0.84 percent, to end at 22,090.12, after rising 56.31 points on Wednesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 15.71 points, or 0.96 percent, at 1,614.97. The index added 4.22 points the previous day.

Getting off to a mixed start following a modest pullback on Wall Street on Wednesday, the Tokyo market went south as investors apparently moved to cash in gains from the recent rally.

Both indexes kept sinking in the afternoon, pressured by persistent profit-taking activities and the yen’s strengthening against the dollar, brokers said.

In addition, “selling to square positions hit the market” ahead of the Easter weekend overseas including Good Friday, said Hiroaki Hiwada, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

As the Nikkei gained some 590 points in the past five sessions, investors’ shift to the sell side was a “natural move,” a brokerage official said.

Given a pause in the advance of U.S. equities, investors found it inadvisable to buy Tokyo stocks amid the dearth of trading incentives, Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., said.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,907 to 192 in the TSE’s first section, while 42 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to 1,188 million shares from Wednesday’s 1,270 million shares.

Pharmaceuticals met with selling after U.S. drug maker Pfizer fared poorly overnight along with other health care names. Major losers in the sector included Takeda, Shionogi and Daiichi Sankyo.

Japan Tobacco was downbeat after announcing weak domestic cigarette sales in March.

Technology investor SoftBank Group continued to slide, electronics and entertainment giant Sony lost further ground, and paper manufacturer Oji Holdings fell back.

On the other hand, automakers including Toyota, Honda and Suzuki kept attracting buying after the first round of Japan-U.S. trade talks ended in Washington on Wednesday without any negative news about the Japanese auto industry.

Clothing store chain Fast Retailing extended its winning streak to a 10th session.

Cosmetics maker Shiseido and construction machinery maker Kubota rose on selective buying.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average fell 160 points to end at 22,110.

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