Stocks fell on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as a wait-and-see mood prevailed ahead of closely watched congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The 225-issue Nikkei average sagged 31.67 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 21,533.48. On Tuesday, the key market gauge rose 30.80 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 3.57 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,571.32, after losing 3.51 points the previous day.

Trading was lackluster as investors retreated to the sidelines ahead of Powell’s testimony on Wednesday and Thursday to gauge the Fed’s interest rate policy, brokers said.

The market was also pressured by speculation of selling to finance dividend payouts for exchange-traded funds linked to the Nikkei and Topix in line with their settlements on Wednesday, brokers said.

The Nikkei generally moved on a weak note amid a lack of fresh buying incentives.

“Investors refrained from active trading to see Wall Street’s reaction to Powell’s testimony,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

A pause in the yen’s weakening against the dollar and a sluggish performance of Shanghai stocks also weighed on the Tokyo market, brokers said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,297 to 764 in the TSE’s first section, while 88 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1.138 billion shares from 988 million shares on Tuesday.

Some firms met with selling after machine tool orders in June fell below ¥100 billion for the first time in 32 months on a monthly basis. Of them, industrial robot producers Fanuc fell 2.07 percent and Yaskawa Electric lost 1.53 percent.

Daikin, a maker of air conditioners, dropped 1.29 percent, extending its losing streak to a fourth session.

Among other major losers were Nintendo and SoftBank Group.

On the other hand, Fast Retailing attracted purchases on expectations for good readings in the September-May earnings of the clothing store chain, due out on Thursday, brokers said.

Restaurant chain Yoshinoya Holdings jumped 8.82 percent thanks to a brisk consolidated operating profit for March-May.

Also on the positive side were Sony and mobile phone carrier KDDI.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average fell 10 points to end at 21.500.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.