• Jiji


The benchmark Nikkei average inched down Wednesday, weighed down by an overnight tumble of U.S. equities after discussions on a new coronavirus relief package by the U.S. government were suddenly halted.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange shed 10.91 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 23,422.82. On Tuesday, the key market gauge advanced 121.59 points.

But the Topix index of all TSE first section issues closed up 0.72 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,646.47, after an 8.50-point rise the previous day.

The Tokyo market succumbed to selling pressure from the opening bell, following the Wall Street slide triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to cease negotiations on an economic relief package to address the coronavirus crisis.

“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Expectations for a stimulus package had been driving investors to buy stocks in the past several days.

The Nikkei regained ground later in the morning and in late trading, but the rebound was not enough to bring the index above the previous day’s close.

Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said that Trump’s announcement did not lead to a larger market drop, due to investor belief that a stimulus package will be adopted regardless of whether Trump is re-elected.

The market’s rebound from early morning lows can be attributed to another Trump tweet urging lawmakers to immediately draw up stimulus measures only for the airline industry and small businesses, Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said.

Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc., said that a rise in Dow Jones Industrial Average futures in off-hours trading pushed up the Tokyo market right before the closing bell.

Ota added that the debate later on Wednesday between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris is garnering “extraordinary levels of attention” from investors, as the chaotic debate between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was viewed as disappointing.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,171 to 914 in the TSE’s first section, while 93 issues were unchanged. Volume decreased to 932 million shares from Tuesday’s 989 million shares.

Yakult Honsha Co. plunged 7.12 percent after French food giant Danone said it will sell off its 6.61 percent equity stake in the Japanese lactic beverage-maker.

Pharmaceutical names such as Daiichi Sankyo Co. and Eisai Co. also fell.

On the other hand, semiconductor-manufacturing equipment producer Tokyo Electron rebounded on buybacks.

Other major winners included sushi restaurant chain Kura Sushi Inc. and restaurant booking website operator Gurunavi Inc.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average gained 10 points from Tuesday to end at 23,410.