Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks turn lower on profit-taking

JIJI

Tokyo stocks fell Monday as selling to lock in profits gained strength after a rally Friday.

The Nikkei 225 average dropped 70.75 points, or 0.29 percent, to end at 23,952.35, On Friday, the key market gauge rocketed 598.29 points.

The Topix, which covers all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was down 3.11 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,736.87 after climbing 27.15 points Friday.

The market got off to a weak start, weighed down by profit-taking, as well as by selling on a halt in the yen’s depreciation against the dollar and weak performance of Nikkei futures.

But the market’s downside was limited, as worry about an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war receded after Washington and Beijing reached their “phase one” deal Friday and refrained from slapping fresh tariffs on each other’s goods Sunday, brokers said.

The Topix stayed in positive territory for most of the afternoon session, while the Nikkei showed buoyancy only briefly.

“Profit-taking gathered steam as a sense of achievement spread among players” after the Nikkei retook the 24,000 threshold at Friday’s closing, said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

Meanwhile, Yamamoto forecast that trading will become more lackluster starting this week as foreign investors begin taking Christmas holidays.

“Now that such key events as the British general election and the conclusion of the preliminary trade deal between the United States and China are over, some participants are already in a holiday mood,” an official of a major securities firm said.

On the TSE’s first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,047 to 992, while 118 issues were unchanged. Volume plunged to 1.134 billion shares from 1.935 billion Friday.

Toyota, Nissan and other automakers met with selling due to a halt in the yen’s weakening.

Astellas fell after Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co. downgraded its investment rating for the drugmaker.

Among other losers were clothing store chain Fast Retailing and industrial robot producer Fanuc.

On the other hand, realtors including Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsui Fudosan attracted purchases.

Nintendo rose on hopes for strong sales of the Nintendo Switch and other consoles in the Christmas shopping season.

Also on the positive side were technology investor SoftBank Group and cosmetics firm Shiseido.

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