Tokyo stocks fell back slightly on Wednesday to wrap up trading in 2020, succumbing to profit-taking after the previous day’s surge, which lifted the benchmark Nikkei average to the highest closing level in more than 30 years.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 123.98 points, or 0.45%, to end at 27,444.17, after surging 714.12 points on Tuesday.
For the whole of 2020, the Nikkei skyrocketed 3,787.55 points, or 16.01%, to mark the highest year-end level in 31 years.
The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues finished at 1,804.68, down 14.50 points, or 0.80%, following a gain of 31.14 points the previous day.
For the full year, the index advanced 83.32 points, or 4.84%.
The market opened lower as investors rushed to lock in profits after the Nikkei’s steep gains the day before.
Stocks were also weighed down by the overnight fall of all three major U.S. stock indexes, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell showed reluctance to pass an increase in coronavirus relief checks supported by President Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers.
But the market was underpinned by investor optimism over further growth in stock prices in the year ahead, paring losses in the afternoon.
“Even if the increase in coronavirus relief checks is rejected, market players are confident that the relief measures that have already been enacted are enough to boost the (U.S.) economy,” Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said.
Although the market saw only a moderate slide following the jump on Tuesday, concerns over market overheating were low as the Nikkei’s price-book value ratio is only 1.22, Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said.
The ratio stood at around 3.00 during the dot-com bubble, he added.
Individual investors were largely responsible for the day’s market movements, as institutional and foreign investors took a breather following the previous day’s surge, brokers said.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,507 to 607 in the TSE first section, while 73 issues were unchanged. Volume fell to 878 million shares from Tuesday’s 1.020 billion shares.
Cyclicals such as steel-makers met with selling, with JFE plunging 3.23%.
Ono Pharmaceutical sank 4.75% after U.S. drug giant Bristol Myers Squibb withdrew the accelerated approval indication for the Opdivo cancer remedy as treatment for a type of lung cancer. The Japanese drugmaker also sells the remedy.
On the other hand, energy firm Renova gained 4.90%, riding on market enthusiasm over renewable energy after the Japanese government said it will seek to make Japanese society carbon-neutral.
Other major winners included airlines ANA and JAL.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 100 points to 27,470.
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