Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks eke out gains while struggling for direction

JIJI

Tokyo stocks managed to extend gains in seesaw trading Wednesday amid a dearth of powerful market-moving news.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the 225-issue Nikkei average edged up 23.34 points, or 0.11 percent, to end at 20,479.42. The key market gauge rose 195.04 points on Tuesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed 0.66 points, or 0.04 percent, higher at 1,490.35, after adding 11.66 points the previous day.

The market got off to a firmer start led by buying of domestic demand-related issues, despite an overnight drop on Wall Street that came as Beijing dampened expectations for progress in the U.S.-China trade talks by failing to confirm U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Chinese officials made phone calls and proposed to resume the negotiations, brokers said.

But the market soon lost steam, with investors refraining from active purchases given the uncertainties over the trade talks between the economic superpowers and the lack of fresh incentives, they noted.

After briefly sinking into negative territory, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes turned buoyant in the midmorning. But they struggled for direction for the rest of the day’s session.

“Individual investors’ purchases of underpriced issues supported the market,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Capital Partners Securities Co.

But he added that a deepening of the so-called yield curve inversion in the United States the previous day raised uncertainties over the global economy’s future and chilled sentiment.

While the Nikkei’s downside is firm around 20,200, its topside is capped by earnings concerns stemming from the U.S.-China trade conflict, another market source said.

Although the price gauges rose, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,220 to 815 in the TSE’s first section, while 116 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 957 million shares from Tuesday’s 1.04 billion shares.

Defensives such as realtors, railway operators and power suppliers attracted purchases, with Mitsubishi Estate rising 2.58 percent, Tokyo Electric 2.43 percent and West Japan Railway Co. 0.91 percent.

Cosmetics makers, including Shiseido and Kose, were bought on hopes for online sales increases in China after Beijing announced 20 measures to boost domestic consumption.

Among other winners were mobile phone carrier KDDI and technology firm Kyocera.

Meanwhile, steelmakers met with selling, with JFE losing 1.24 percent and Nippon Steel 0.65 percent.

Also on the negative side were e-commerce firm Rakuten and chipmaker Tokyo Electron.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average rose 60 points to end at 20,480.

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