Tokyo stocks dropped further in thin trading Wednesday as investors refrained from active trading before key events, including the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy-setting meeting.
The 225-issue Nikkei average on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 18.33 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 23,391.86 after shedding 20.51 points Tuesday.
The Topix index of all TSE first section issues finished down 5.82 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,714.95. It lost 1.30 points the previous day.
After opening just above Tuesday’s close on a slight weakening of the yen, the Nikkei average gradually fell into negative territory in the morning, succumbing to selling pressure, brokers said.
Amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives, the Nikkei average fluctuated within a narrow range in the afternoon.
“Market players were waiting for the passage of the important events scheduled this week,” including the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending later Wednesday, Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co., said, giving a reason for the day’s sluggish trading.
Other big events he mentioned included the British general election Thursday and the Bank of Japan’s tankan quarterly business sentiment survey report for December, due out Friday.
Some brokers noted that investors focused on whether Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will suggest additional rate cuts next year in his press conference after the FOMC meeting.
Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said that the morning’s fall reflected White House adviser Peter Navarro’s reported comment that there is no indication that the United States will delay the planned implementation of additional tariffs on Chinese goods Sunday.
But the market resisted falling deeper into the minus side as investors were still expecting progress in the U.S.-China trade talks, which were still continuing, Ichikawa added.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,379 to 677 in the TSE’s first section, while 101 issues were unchanged.
Volume rose to 1.151 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.047 billion shares.
Nintendo Co. fell 1.36 percent on profit-taking, logging the first fall in four sessions.
Plant dismantling company Besterra Co. dropped 6.29 percent after revising down its projections for its consolidated operating and net profits for the year to February 2020.
Among other losers were drugmaker Eisai Co. and baby product manufacturer Pigeon Corp.
On the other hand, semiconductor-related issues, including Advantest Corp. and Sumco Corp., attracted buying thanks to brisk performance of their U.S. peers Tuesday.
Also on the positive side were Yahoo Japan parent Z Holdings Corp. and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average dropped 80 points to end at 23,370.