Tokyo stocks lost further ground in thin trading Thursday, with investors waiting for the release of official U.S. employment data.

The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 84.49 points, or 0.29%, to finish at 28,707.04, extending its losing streak to a fourth market day.

The Topix index of all first section issues fell for the third straight day to close at 1,939.21, down 4.36 points, or 0.22%.

The market got off to a firmer start but soon sank into negative terrain.

High-priced technology-oriented stocks, in particular, met with selling induced by mild falls in the U.S. Nasdaq composite and Philadelphia semiconductor indexes on Wednesday.

Sentiment was also dampened by the recent upturn in new coronavirus cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area, brokers said.

In the afternoon, both the Nikkei and TOPIX indexes went sideways with trading becoming further subdued amid a dearth of market-moving news.

Investors were largely sitting on the fences ahead of Friday’s jobs report for June by the U.S. Labor Department, brokers said.

“Foreign investors were especially inactive despite the yen’s weakening against the dollar,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management, noted that players refrained from trading actively before the jobs report, because “U.S. inflation concerns would heighten” to push down stocks if it shows a strong nonfarm payroll increase.

The spread of the delta variant of the novel coronavirus in Japan and abroad continued to weigh on the market, he added.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan’s tankan quarterly business outlook report “little affected stock transactions” despite the headline sentiment index’s rise to a 30-month high, Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co., said.

On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,297 to 767 while 126 issues were flat. Volume dropped to 833 million shares from Wednesday’s 963 million shares.

Mitsubishi Electric tumbled 6.05% on selling sparked by the revelation of its inspection misconduct.

Shippings were sold on concerns over excessive price rises, with Kawasaki Kisen plunging 4.63% and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines 3.93%.

Downbeat tech stocks included such Nikkei components as SoftBank Group and M3.

On the other hand, staffing agency Pasona Group rocketed 8.38% after revising up its operating profit estimate for the business year that ended in May.

Toshiba rose 2.81% following a media report that the electronics giant’s former chipmaking division, Kioxia Holdings Corp., will eventually be listed on the TSE as early as September.

Air conditioner-maker Daikin and toilet-maker Toto went up.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average gave up 120 points to end at 28,630.

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