Tokyo stocks fell back slightly in lackluster trading Monday amid a dearth of powerful incentives.
The 225-issue Nikkei average closed down 22.25 points, or 0.09%, at 23,494.34, after gaining 42.32 points Friday.
The Topix index of all issues on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange shed 6.34 points, or 0.39%, to end at 1,618.98, following a 5.53-point rise the previous trading day.
The market got off to a mixed start, sandwiched between buying induced by a rise in the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index in the United States on Friday and selling on a drop in the Dow Jones industrial average, caused in part by key component Intel’s plunge following the release of dismal earnings for July to September.
The benchmark Nikkei managed to stay mostly in positive terrain in the morning thanks to the popularity of clothing store chain Fast Retailing, its major component, while the broader Topix continued to remain under selling pressure after briefly becoming buoyant in early trading.
In the afternoon, the Nikkei lost steam and moved tightly in the shady side along with the Topix, weighed down by drops in the Shanghai market and in Dow futures amid the lack of major market-moving factors.
“Investors took to the sidelines ahead of the releases of earnings reports by Japanese companies (later this week) and the U.S. presidential election next week,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.
Caution over the election was also cited as a reason for Monday’s sluggish trading.
“Market participants have been bracing for a delay of some two weeks in the announcement of the winner after the Nov. 3 election day, due to possible turmoil over mail-in voting,” an official at a major securities firm said.
On the first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,245 to 815 with 118 issues unchanged. Volume decreased to 808 million shares from Friday’s 967 million shares.
Ube Industries dived 3.16% following profit warnings by the chemical-maker for the first half and the whole of the current business year ending next March.
Air carrier ANA Holdings fell 1.11%, in response to news reports that the company would cut around 3,500 jobs in the group as part of business restructuring plans.
Among other major losers were cosmetics maker Shiseido and medical information provider M3.
On the other hand, Murata Manufacturing climbed 2.12%, thanks to the electronic parts maker revising up its operating profit estimate for April to September. Fast Retailing was 1.36% higher.
Also on the positive side were technology and entertainment giant Sony and silicon wafer producer Shin-Etsu Chemical.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average fell 10 points to end at 23,480.
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