Business / Financial Markets | TSE DATA & REPORT

Nikkei loses ground on ex-dividend impact and profit-taking

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei average lost ground Friday, failing to absorb the ex-dividend impact and profit-taking pressure.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 87.20 points, or 0.36 percent, to end at 23,837.72, after rising 142.05 points Thursday.

By contrast, the Topix index of all TSE first-section issues closed up 1.98 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,733.18. It rose 9.78 points the previous day.

Both indexes opened higher as Tokyo market participants applauded all-time closing highs of all three major U.S. stock indexes Thursday. The rises in the U.S. indexes reflected expectations for progress in the U.S.-China trade talks and robust Christmas sales in the United States, brokers said.

But the Nikkei fell into negative territory soon, succumbing to the impact of stocks that went ex-dividend on Friday and selling to lock in profits, brokers said.

While the Topix index remained in positive territory, the Nikkei mostly fluctuated under the previous day’s closing level for the rest of the session amid an absence of market players and a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

Maki Sawada, vice president of Nomura Securities Co.’s Investment Research & Investor Services Department, said that the ex-dividend impact pushed down the Nikkei by around 38 points.

Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., noted that the Nikkei was also weighed down by a drop in clothing store chain Fast Retailing, a heavily weighted component of the key index, throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Sawada said that it may be difficult for the Nikkei to exceed 24,000 on Monday, the Tokyo market’s final trading day of 2019, as “investors are seen adopting a wait-and-see approach ahead of the releases” of overseas economic indicators. Such data include the Chinese manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for December, which will be announced Tuesday, and the U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for the same month, which will be released on Jan. 3.

On the other hand, Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said that the Nikkei may rise above 24,000 Monday if U.S. stocks advance later Friday.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,479 to 601 in the TSE first section, while 72 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose marginally to 825 million shares from Thursday’s 821 million.

Tobacco maker JT and restaurant chain Skylark fell as investors dumped such issues that went ex-dividend Friday, market sources said.

Also sold were mobile game developer Colopl and electronic parts maker TDK.

On the other hand, mega-bank group Mitsubishi UFJ and other financial issues attracted buying, thanks to their U.S. peers’ robust performances Thursday.

Department store operator J. Front Retailing rose 5.22 percent after the announcement Thursday that it will fully own shopping mall firm Parco.

Technology giant Sony and drug maker Takeda also rose.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average advanced 10 points to end at 23,840.