The benchmark Nikkei average turned moderately lower in mixed trading Wednesday, with investors reluctant to actively take positions before the end of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 150.29 points, or 0.51%, to close at 29,291.02, snapping its two-day rally with a rise of 492.57 points in total.
Meanwhile, the Topix index of all first section issues inched up 0.38 point, or 0.02%, to end at 1,975.86, barely extending its winning streak to three market days after gaining 15.73 points Tuesday.
The market got off to a weaker start in the wake of all three key U.S. price gauges falling back Tuesday.
Many stocks soon showed resilience. But the Nikkei failed to turn buoyant due to selling of some of its heavily weighted component issues, brokers said.
The broader Topix index was sent back into positive terrain chiefly by purchases of such economically sensitive cyclical issues as shippings and minings.
In the afternoon, stocks gradually pared gains or extended losses as drops in Chinese and Hong Kong stocks dampened sentiment.
Players were largely sitting on the fences to see the outcome of the Fed’s two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending later the same day, hoping to have hints on when the U.S. central bank will start discussions on tapering its quantitative easing and whether it will tweak key interest rates, brokers said.
Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., noted that both the Nikkei and Topix indexes were “weighed down by selling of their high-priced components” while a majority of first section stocks went up.
“Disregarding the sell-off of Fast Retailing, a Nikkei heavyweight, the market looked firm,” an official at a midsize securities firm said.
“A larger-than-expected drop in retail sales and a surge in producer prices in the United States in May spooked investors who had been buying in anticipation of an early U.S. economic recovery,” said Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.
On the TSE first section, gainers outnumbered decliners 1,213 to 876 while 105 issues were unchanged. Volume grew to 1.028 billion shares from Tuesday’s 972 million shares.
Shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen shot up 4.94% and peer Mitsui O.S.K. Lines 2.99%.
A crude oil market rally lifted resources developer Inpex by 3.70%.
Other noticeable winners included online advertising firm Cyberagent and tire-maker Yokohama Rubber.
Clothing retailer Fast Retailing plunged 2.72%, while medical information provider M3, another Nikkei component, sank 2.66%.
Semiconductor-linked stocks, such as Tokyo Electron and TDK, were knocked down by a fall in the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index the previous day.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average slipped 160 points to end at 29,250.
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