Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks hit by ex-dividend selling and fears of U.S. political turmoil

JIJI

Ex-dividend selling and growing concerns over U.S. political conditions sent Tokyo stocks south on Friday.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 169.34 points, or 0.77 percent, to end at 21,878.90, after gaining 28.09 points on Thursday.

The Topix index of all issues listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished down 19.02 points, or 1.17 percent, at 1,604.25. It added 3.19 points the previous day.

The market opened lower, with sentiment dampened by a Wall Street fallback amid increasing fears about the Democratic Party’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump causing political turmoil in the United States.

Both the Nikkei and Topix indexes accelerated their downswings later in the morning, pressured by selling of stocks that went ex-dividend on Friday, brokers said, adding that the ex-dividend impact pushed down the Nikkei by an estimated 160 points or so.

The market stayed deep in negative territory in the afternoon, also weighed on by a fall in U.S. index futures in off-hours trading.

“Profit-taking hit the market amid a heightened sense of overheating,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

An official at an investment consulting firm offered a gloomy market outlook, after the Nikkei gained over 1,100 points this month.

“Since stocks have gone up while playing down the seriousness the U.S.-China trade conflict, they could suffer a major setback any time soon,” the official said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,677 to 418 on the first section, while 42 issues were unchanged.

Volume shrank to 1.35 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.43 billion shares.

Financials including Mitsubishi UFJ and insurer Tokio Marine met with selling after their U.S. peers fared poorly on Thursday.

Kansai Electric tumbled 5.71 percent following the utility’s revelation that its executives had received a total of some ¥320 million in cash and goods from a former deputy mayor of Takahama, a Fukui Prefecture town that hosts one of the company’s nuclear power plants.

Among other losers were technology investor SoftBank Group and mobile phone carrier KDDI.

On the other hand, camera and copier maker Canon attracted purchases for a third day. Also bought were industrial robot producer Fanuc and daily goods maker Kao.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average fell 50 points to end at 21,810.

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