Tokyo stocks ended a tad lower Tuesday, after searching for direction in thin trading.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed off 1.69 points, or 0.01 percent, at 23,138.07, after the benchmark index soared 257.11 points Monday.
The Topix index of all first section issues shed 2.37 points, or 0.15 percent, to finish at 1,615.81, following a 13.31-point jump the previous day.
The Tokyo market got off to a weaker start in the wake of the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average taking a downturn Monday.
Both the Nikkei and Topix indexes kept moving around the previous day’s closing levels throughout the session amid a dearth of fresh market-moving factors, brokers said.
“The market’s downside was solid, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga now looking set to become next prime minister,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.
The odds of Suga, the right-hand man to Shinzo Abe, prime minister and president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, winning the LDP leadership election have grown since the party leadership decided to only allow lawmakers in the party to cast ballots Sept. 14. If he is elected as chief of the ruling party, Suga will be named the new prime minister at an extraordinary Diet session to be convened later.
As Suga is expected to leave the current economic policies intact, “investors felt at ease to some extent,” an official at a bank-affiliated securities firm said.
But active purchases were held in check due to a lack of fresh incentives, Miura added.
Another brokerage house official noted that the market was weighed on by uncertainties over Suga’s policy goals as well as the timing of the breakup of the House of Representatives for a snap election.
On the TSE’s first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,162 to 915 with 94 issues unchanged. Volume decreased to 1.027 billion shares from Monday’s 1.341 billion shares.
Oil names including Eneos Holdings Inc. and Cosmo Energy Holdings Co. were dealt a blow by a sagging crude oil market.
Megabank Group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., insurer Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and other financials suffered from lower U.S. long-term interest rates.
Among other losers were mobile phone carrier KDDI Corp. and technology investor SoftBank Group Corp.
On the other hand, electronics maker Fuji Electric Co. extended its winning streak to a fourth session.
Also in the green were drugmaker Eisai Co. and air conditioner-maker Daikin Industries.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average ended flat at 23,160.