• Jiji


Tokyo stocks fell back in directionless trading Wednesday on the back of profit-taking, despite starting off on a strong note.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 110.20 points, or 0.38%, to close at 28,523.26. On Tuesday, the benchmark index climbed 391.25 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues ended 6.26 points, or 0.34%, lower at 1,849.58 after a 10.35-point rise the previous day.

The Tokyo market started higher thanks to a rebound staged by the U.S. market Tuesday.

Buying sentiment grew stronger after U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen signaled her readiness to introduce large-scale fiscal stimulus measures at a Senate confirmation hearing, brokers said.

The bout of buying in Tokyo, however, was short-lived. The market fell into negative territory later in the morning as selling to lock in profits took the upper hand.

Weighed down by persistent profit-taking pressure, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes fluctuated narrowly on the minus side in the afternoon amid a lack of fresh trading incentives.

“The market, to some extent, already factored in Yellen’s statements the day before as some media reports had said that she will advocate hefty fiscal spending,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

Trading was lackluster in the afternoon as investors sat on the fence ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday, he added.

On the TSE first section, rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,100 to 993, while 95 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.15 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.006 billion shares.

Airline ANA fell 3.35% after announcing a 15% reduction in domestic flight service capacity in fiscal 2021 from the initially planned level for the previous year.

Among other major losers were Oriental Land, the operator of the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks, and mobile carrier KDDI.

On the other hand, automaker Honda drew buying after announcing that it will work with a General Motors Co. unit to start tests of self-driving commercial vehicles in Japan this year.

Chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron and electronic parts supplier Taiyo Yuden also went up.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average shed 180 points to end at 28,490.

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