• Jiji


Tokyo stocks ended slightly lower Friday after struggling for direction amid a dearth of fresh factors.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange inched down 9.83 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 28,948.73, after rising 97.76 points Thursday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues ended down 2.71 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,954.02, following a 0.41-point drop the previous day. It posted a lower finish for the third straight day.

The market opened higher as Wall Street rose Thursday in defiance of a faster-than-expected rise in the U.S. consumer price index for May, announced on the day.

But the Tokyo market soon met with selling to lock in gains in the absence of fresh buying incentives. Stocks continued to struggle for direction for the rest of the morning.

In the afternoon, the Nikkei drifted in a narrow range around the previous day’s closing level while the Topix mostly stayed in negative terrain.

A wait-and-see mood grew ahead of the weekend and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting next week.

The impact of the stronger-than-expected U.S. CPI data on the market was limited, said Kazuo Kamitani, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

“Trading volume was low despite the special quotation fixing” to settle June stock index futures and options contracts, Kamitani added.

“Although the market was moved little by the CPI, players are likely to remain cautious until they see movements of U.S. stocks after the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said, noting that “the CPI reading was strong.”

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the CPI rose 5.0 percent year on year in May, posting the sharpest increase since August 2008 and stronger than the market’s estimate of around 4.7 percent.

On the TSE first section, falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,363 to 709 while 121 issues were unchanged.

Drugmaker Eisai soared 7.00 percent after the previous day’s plunge.

Eisai went limit-up on Tuesday and Wednesday after U.S. authorities approved an Alzheimer’s disease drug developed jointly by the Japanese company and U.S. pharmaceuticals firm Biogen. It is the world’s first approved remedy that directly works on substances believed to cause the disease.

Other pharmaceutical names such as Chugai and Astellas also drew popularity.

Medical information provider M3, a heavyweight component of the Nikkei, rose 3.12 percent.

Technology and entertainment giant Sony attracted buying following a newspaper report Friday that Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s leading chip foundry, has started considering building its first semiconductor plant in Japan in the southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto. It was reported in late May that the two companies may study a plan to build a joint chip factory in the prefecture.

On the other hand, electronics firm Toshiba saw a modest fall after a team of outside lawyers on Thursday released a report saying that the company’s annual general meeting of shareholders in July last year was not fairly managed.

Job information provider Recruit Holdings, a heavily weighted component of the Nikkei, dropped 2.53 percent.

Financials, including megabank group Mitsubishi UFJ and brokerage firm Okasan, met with selling following a fall in U.S. long-term interest rates.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average retreated 40 points to end at 28,880.

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