Tokyo stocks fell back in lackluster trading Wednesday, as sentiment was dampened by the yen’s strengthening against the dollar and concerns over the coronavirus situation in Japan.
The 225-issue Nikkei average shed 130.62 points, or 0.44%, to close at 29,620.99, following a 212.88-point rise Tuesday.
The Topix index of all first section issues finished 6.37 points, or 0.33%, lower at 1,952.18, after rising 3.96 points the previous day.
The market started out on the minus side, as investors reacted negatively to the dollar easing below ¥109 following a drop in U.S. long-term interest rates Tuesday, which was triggered by receded hopes for a U.S. economic recovery.
After buying on dips cushioned the Tokyo market’s fall later in the morning, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes continued to fluctuate within a narrow range in negative territory amid an absence of fresh trading incentives.
Brokers said that the market, throughout the day, was also weighed down by the recent spikes in the number of coronavirus infection cases in Japan and the weakness of auto and financial issues.
“The Tokyo market succumbed to active selling by foreign players,” on the back of concerns over the domestic coronavirus infection situation, Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., observed.
A bank-affiliated securities firm official said that the Tokyo market was also weighed down by waning optimism over the U.S. economy after federal health agencies Tuesday called for a halt in the administration of a coronavirus vaccine developed by U.S. health care giant Johnson & Johnson.
A strategist at an asset management company said that appetite for stocks was hurt by lower-than-expected core machinery orders in Japan in February, released just before the opening bell.
In the TSE first section, losers outnumbered gainers 1,376 to 739, while 76 issues were unchanged. Volume inched up to 1.036 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.016 billion shares.
Automakers including Toyota and Mazda were hit by selling triggered by the stronger yen.
Megabank groups such as Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial also fell in the wake of lower U.S. long-term interest rates.
J. Front Retailing plunged 7.42%, after the department store operator’s operating profit forecast for the year ending in February 2022 failed to beat a market consensus.
Among other major losers were electronic parts producer Kyocera and drugmaker Chugai.
On the other hand, JFE and Nippon Steel attracted avid buying after Nomura Securities Co. raised its target stock prices for the two steelmakers.
Toshiba surged 5.77% in the wake of a news report that U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is considering a buyout offer for the Japanese electronics giant exceeding that proposed by CVC Capital Partners.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average gave up 170 points to end at 29,610.
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