The benchmark Nikkei stock average barely ended higher for the second consecutive session Tuesday after struggling for direction in the absence of market-influencing events.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed up 9.47 points, or 0.04 percent, at 23,830.58, after rising 4.48 points Monday.
Meanwhile, the TOPIX index of all TSE first-section issues dipped 1.20 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,728.22, extending its losing streak to a fifth market day. It gave up 3.65 points the previous day.
Tokyo stocks drew buying at the outset after all three major U.S. price indexes renewed their all-time closing highs Monday.
Sentiment was brightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment suggesting that the United States and China would sign the recently agreed preliminary trade deal “very shortly” and Beijing’s announcement of tariff cuts on 859 products, including frozen pork, next month, brokers said.
But selling to lock in profits soon took the upper hand, sending both the Nikkei and TOPIX indexes into negative territory.
After showing zigzag movements later in the morning, the Nikkei gradually pared losses and returned to positive territory in late trading. The TOPIX, however, failed to gather steam.
The market lacked vigor as foreign participants, the major players, are taking Christmas holidays, an official at a bank-affiliated securities firm said.
“Trading is expected to remain inactive for the rest of the week,” said Hirohumi Yamamoto, strategist at Toyo Securities Co., adding he sees no downside risks for now, however.
Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., pointed out that the market would stay calm at least for the time being, with Washington and Beijing reaching the so-called “phase one” trade deal and central banks in the world maintaining their easing stances.
“Investors will be able to end this year’s trading without worry,” he said.
On the TSE’s first section, falling issues slightly outnumbered rising ones 1,030 to 994 while 135 issues were unchanged. Volume dropped to 8.65 billion shares from Monday’s 9.55 billion shares.
Issues related to Apple rose in the wake of the U.S. technology giant’s surge Monday. They included Murata Manufacturing and TDK.
Kura Sushi climbed 2.38 percent after Mizuho Securities Co. revised up its target stock price for the sushi-go-round restaurant chain.
Among other major winners were free messaging app provider Line and daily goods producer Kao.
On the other hand, clothing retailer Shimamura dived 3.53 percent due to a 9.0 percent year-on-year fall in its same-store sales in December.
Towa Pharmaceutical and toy maker Takara Tomy were sold as well.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average rose 10 points to end at 23,760.