Stocks inched up on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, after moving aimlessly amid an increasing wait-and-see mood ahead of a series of key events.
The 225-issue Nikkei average advanced 9.44 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 20,628.01. On Wednesday, the key market gauge fell 58.65 points.
The TOPIX index of all first-section issues finished up 0.55 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,498.06, after dropping 9.26 points the previous day.
The Nikkei started higher, thanks to a rise on Wall Street on Wednesday stemming from receding concerns over the U.S. economy backed by better-than-expected May-July earnings reports from major retailers and rosy U.S. existing home sales data for July.
After the initial buying, however, the Nikkei gradually lost steam and briefly slipped into negative territory later in the morning, pulled down by a drop in Hong Kong stocks, brokers said.
In the afternoon, the Nikkei fluctuated around Wednesday’s closing level, due to a dearth of fresh incentives and a growing wait-and-see stance among investors.
“Investors refrained from active buying in the afternoon as they waited” for a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a high-profile annual financial symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, Hirohumi Yamamoto, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co., said.
Market players stood on the sidelines ahead of the releases by IHS Markit of the August manufacturing purchasing managers indexes for the eurozone and the United States later on Thursday, an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm noted.
Some brokers said that the market remained under pressure from lingering concerns over the U.S.-China trade dispute.
Despite the rises of the Nikkei and the TOPIX, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,170 to 841 on the TSE’s first section, while 138 issues were unchanged.
Volume increased to 974 million shares from Wednesday’s 901 million shares.
Cosmetics makers attracted purchases, with Shiseido rising 5.55 percent and Kose 1.94 percent, after the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday that the number of travelers to Japan in July grew 5.6 percent year on year. Cosmetics are popular shopping items among foreigners visiting the country.
Tokyo Electron, Screen and other chip-related issues advanced thanks to a climb of the SOX Philadelphia semiconductor index on Wednesday.
Among other winners were job information provider Recruit Holdings and auto parts maker Denso.
On the other hand, technology investor SoftBank Group dropped, extending its losing streak to a third day.
Also on the negative side were electronics giant Sony and drug maker Eisai.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average rose 50 points to 20,620.