Business / Financial Markets

Tokyo stocks turn slightly lower amid lack of incentives

Jiji

Tokyo stocks suffered a modest setback Wednesday amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

The 225-issue Nikkei average shed 14.73 points, or 0.07 percent, to end at 22,534.32. On Tuesday, the key market gauge advanced 111.78 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed off 6.64 points, or 0.42 percent, at 1,580.50, after gaining 8.05 points the previous day.

Stocks struggled for direction almost throughout Wednesday’s trading, trapped between buying induced by the U.S. market’s advance Tuesday, in which the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index extended its record-breaking rising streak, and selling prompted by the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

In the morning, the Nikkei moved on a relatively firm note, reflecting the popularity of its heavyweight component stocks such as clothing store chain Fast Retailing, brokers said.

Although the lackluster mood further spread in the afternoon with little fresh market-moving news, the key index managed to hover around the previous day’s closing level, supported by buybacks in the wake of a halt in the yen’s appreciation, they added.

Meanwhile, the Topix failed to become buoyant throughout the Wednesday session.

Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., observed that the market in the morning gained support from a rise in Shanghai stocks.

But trading as a whole was sluggish, with participants “sitting on the fences to wait for new events powerful enough to move the market,” he said.

“The market continued to be weighed on by fears over a second wave in the coronavirus pandemic and renewed U.S.-China trade tensions,” an official at a major securities firm said.

On the TSE’s first section, falling issues overwhelmed rising ones 1,522 to 576, while 69 issues were unchanged. Volume fell slightly to 1.169 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.192 billion shares.

Issues in the semiconductor sector, including Advantest and Screen, fell prey to the stronger yen.

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings lost 2.61 percent, after Daiwa Securities Co. revised down its target stock price for the firm.

Among other major losers were advertising giant Dentsu Group and beverage-maker Asahi Group.

On the other hand, furniture retailer Nitori rose 1.39 percent, thanks to strong sales in June.

Also in the green were drug store chain operator Sugi Holdings and medical equipment-maker Terumo.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average gave up 100 points to end at 22,460.

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