Tokyo stocks slipped Wednesday, with profit-taking particularly hitting hard semiconductor-related issues.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 102.76 points, or 0.35%, to close at 28,860.80, after losing 55.68 points Tuesday.
The Topix index of all first section issues finished down 5.51 points, or 0.28%, at 1,957.14, ending its winning streak at six sessions. It rose 1.80 points the previous day.
The market got off to a weak start, with semiconductor-related stocks, such as Tokyo Electron and Advantest, both heavily weighted components of the Nikkei average, showing sluggish performances following a fall in the U.S. SOX Philadelphia semiconductor index Tuesday.
Shipping and bank names also succumbed to profit-taking.
Meanwhile, hopes for an economic recovery backed by progress in coronavirus vaccinations underpinned the market, brokers said.
Stocks remained in mixed currents of buy and sell orders in the afternoon amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.
Trading was quiet throughout the day as investors were taking a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the release on Thursday of the closely watched U.S. consumer price index for May.
Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., suggested that individual investors dominated Wednesday’s trading.
Transactions by foreign investors were sluggish, another Japanese brokerage house official said.
“The market’s upside was limited by the wait-and-see sentiment but its downside was firm,” said Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.
Amid growing hopes for the normalization of economic activities on the back of accelerated vaccine rollouts in the country, stocks that are likely to win demand after the virus crisis comes under control, such as airlines, railway firms and department store operators, attracted buying, Sawada noted.
Market players are likely to stay inactive until the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the Bank of Japan’s policymaking meeting, both set for next week, she added.
On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,106 to 972 while 115 issues were unchanged. Volume rose to 994 million shares from Tuesday’s 928 million shares.
Among semiconductor-related issues, Tokyo Electron dropped 3.00%, Advantest fell 2.09% and TDK 2.05%.
Lasertec, also a semiconductor-linked firm, slipped 3.86% after Mizuho Securities Co. revised down its investment rating for the company.
Online brokerage Monex Group met with selling following a decline in Bitcoin prices.
Shipping firms Kawasaki Kisen and Nippon Yusen fell 4.53% and 3.14%, respectively.
Among other major losers were megabank groups Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ.
On the other hand, drugmaker Eisai ended with a maximum-allowable single-day gain for a second straight day with investors taking heart from Monday’s announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it has approved an Alzheimer’s disease drug developed jointly by the Japanese firm and U.S. pharmaceuticals firm Biogen. The drug, aducanumab, is the world’s first approved remedy that directly works on substances believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Aircraft interior products maker Jamco surged 11.94% after the United States relaxed its travel advisory on Japan on Tuesday.
Airlines JAL and ANA gained 3.14% and 3.38%, respectively.
Railway operators, including JR East and JR West, also attracted buying.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average retreated 220 points to end at 28,840.
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