Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Tokyo stocks bleed under profit-taking pressure

JIJI

Tokyo stocks lost further ground Friday, failing to shrug off profit-taking pressure and selling prompted by the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

The 225-issue Nikkei average dropped 48.22 points, or 0.20 percent, to end at 23,816.63. On Thursday, the key market gauge fell 69.58 points.

The Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed down 3.04 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,733.07, after losing 2.29 points the previous day.

The market opened higher, after all three major U.S. market gauges —the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq composite index and the S&P 500 —rewrote their all-time closing highs Thursday.

But both the Nikkei and Topix indexes soon sank into negative territory, weighed down by the yen’s appreciation and renewed selling to lock in profits, brokers said, adding that foreign investors emerged as leading profit-takers ahead of the Christmas holiday season.

Backed by a rise in Hong Kong stocks, the market turned buoyant to some extent in early afternoon trading. But it repeated minor fluctuations in negative territory for most of the remaining session amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

“Not only profit-taking but position-squaring selling ahead of the weekend pushed down stocks,” said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc.

But he also pointed out that buying induced by the historic advance on Wall Street, in which the S&P 500 topped the 3,200 threshold, prevented a sell-off on the Tokyo market.

On the TSE’s first section, rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,139 to 905 despite the weaker readings of the Nikkei and the Topix, while 114 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.319 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.161 billion shares.

Automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. met with selling due to the stronger yen versus the dollar.

Nintendo Co. fell after Goldman Sachs Japan Co. revised down its investment rating for the game-maker.

Among other losers were industrial robot producer Fanuc Corp. and technology giant Sony Corp.

By contrast, stocks in the semiconductor sector attracted purchases after their U.S. peers fared well Thursday. They included chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and test device maker Advantest Corp.

Electronic parts supplier Murata Manufacturing Co. snapped its four-day losing streak.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 110 points to end at 23,720.

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