Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei extends losses to 23,865 as profit-taking gathers steam

JIJI

Tokyo stocks dropped further Thursday as selling increased to lock in profits.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 69.58 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 23,864.85, after losing 131.69 points Wednesday.

The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues was down 2.29 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,736.11. It gave up 8.80 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market struggled for direction in the early morning, after a mixed performance by U.S. stocks on Wednesday. But both the Nikkei and Topix indexes sank into negative territory around midmorning as investors stepped up moves to take profits in view of high stock valuations, brokers said.

The market failed to resist the selling pressure for the rest of the session in the absence of major buying incentives. Saggy Hong Kong stocks also dampened sentiment.

The Bank of Japan’s announcement of its decision to keep its monetary policy steady had little effect on transactions, brokers added.

“Foreign investors came here to cash in lucrative shares ahead of the Christmas holiday season,” said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

Trading lost vigor in the afternoon as some domestic players retreated to the sidelines to wait for a news conference by BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, who was expected to hint at future policy steps, according to Yamamoto.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday failed to attract market attention because the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to remove him, brokers said.

On the TSE’s first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,147 to 913 while 98 issues were unchanged. Volume fell to 1.161 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.276 billion shares.

Pulp and paper makers such as Oji Holdings and securities firms including Nomura met with heavy selling.

Nitori tumbled on a media report that the furniture retailer was set to issue profit warnings for the year to February.

Clothing store chain Fast Retailing and chip-making gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron also went south.

On the other hand, realtors such as Nomura Real Estate Development and Mitsui Fudosan attracted purchases.

Advantest surged after Nomura Securities Co. revised up its target price for the semiconductor test device maker.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average rose 20 points to end at 23,830.

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