• Jiji


Tokyo stocks lost more ground Thursday as poor earnings reports by Japanese firms and a drop in the Hong Kong market dampened trading sentiment.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 96.70 points, or 0.43 percent, to end at 22,418.15, after the benchmark index lost 58.81 points Wednesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 4.83 points, or 0.31 percent, at 1,549.88, following a 0.55-point fall the previous day.

The Tokyo market opened lower despite a continued rally on Wall Street, as selling took the upper hand after some leading companies, including Honda Motor, announced bleak earnings conditions late Wednesday afternoon.

Both the Nikkei and Topix indexes returned to positive terrain around mid-morning. But buying sentiment diminished in the afternoon in the wake of a tumble in Hong Kong stocks, brokers said.

“Investors keep focusing their attention on earnings at Japanese firms in this peak reporting season,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

The day’s trading highlighted the market’s top-heaviness amid a dearth of companies acting as engines for the Japanese economy, a major brokerage house official pointed out.

Otani forecast that stocks would find a direction after the peak season, which is ending next week.

On the TSE’s first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,251 to 852 while 70 issues were unchanged. Volume shrank to 1.079 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.204 billion shares.

Besides Honda, unfavorable earnings news battered machinery maker Kawasaki Heavy and toiletries supplier Lion.

Price comparison website operator Kakaku.com extended its losing streak to a seventh session.

Among other losers were chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and industrial robot producer Fanuc.

Meanwhile, automaker Toyota jumped 2.28 percent after beating a market consensus on operating profit for April-June.

Oil wholesalers Eneos and Idemitsu continued to benefit from the bullish crude oil market.

Closing store chain Fast Retailing and air conditioner maker Daikin were also in the green.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average fell 120 points to end at 22,390.

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