Tokyo stocks turned down Thursday, as investors stepped up selling to lock in profits.
The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange bled 61.70 points, or 0.23%, to close at 26,756.24, after rising 350.86 points to rewrite a 29-year high Wednesday.
The Topix index of all first-section issues closed 3.21 points, or 0.18%, lower at 1,776.21, following a 20.61-point climb the previous day.
Stocks met with heavy selling right after the opening bell, with the Nikkei giving up nearly 200 points in the first five minutes.
Profit-taking gathered steam in the wake of drops in all three major U.S. stock price gauges, including the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index.
After the early sell-off, the market moved in a narrow range amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives for the rest of the morning session.
Both the Nikkei and the Topix indexes returned to the positive side early in the afternoon, thanks to SoftBank Group’s jump prompted by news reports that the technology investor gained over ¥1 trillion from U.S. food delivery firm DoorDash’s strong debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
But the market came under renewed profit-taking pressure in late afternoon trading and slipped into negative terrain again.
“Sentiment was also hurt by dashed hopes that a U.S. stimulus package deal would be struck by the year-end,” said Kazuo Kamitani, senior associate at Nomura Securities Co.’s Investment Research & Investor Services Department, referring to Democrats’ rejection of the White House’s compromise offer and the continued stalemate in negotiations on the coronavirus relief package.
On the market upturn in the afternoon, an asset manager estimated that SoftBank Group helped the Nikkei rebound by some 210 points from its intraday low.
Some brokers also cited Eisai’s ascent after the drugmaker’s announcement that Japanese regulatory approval for an Alzheimer’s medicine was requested by U.S. co-developer Biogen.
On the TSE first section, losers outnumbered winners 1,339 to 739 while 101 issues remained unchanged. Volume rose to 1.182 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.096 billion shares.
Chipmaking gear maker Tokyo Electron, semiconductor test device manufacturer Advantest and other issues in the semiconductor sector were major victims to profit-taking.
Daiwa House fell 2.63%, after Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. lowered its rating for the company.
Control equipment-maker Omron and daily goods producer Kao also suffered drops.
On the other hand, SoftBank Group rocketed 10.91% and Eisai climbed 2.07%.
Toyota rose 1.78%, thanks to a media report that the leading automaker will release vehicles with solid-state batteries in the first half of the 2020s.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average lost 150 points to end at 26,710.
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