Stocks turned lower Tuesday, weighed down by the yen’s appreciation against the dollar on haven buying.
The Nikkei 225 average lost 50.01 points, or 0.27 percent, to finish at 18,747.87. On Monday, the key market gauge climbed 133.25 points.
The Topix, which covers all first-section issues, closed down 4.55 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,495.10 after gaining 9.88 points the previous day.
Stocks met with selling from the outset as the yen strengthened against the dollar amid the heightened geopolitical risks, brokers said.
The market showed some resilience in the midmorning session. But investors soon stepped up selling, forcing the Nikkei to give up more than 130 points in the early afternoon.
The market remained sluggish for the rest of the day, although it trimmed losses toward the closing.
“Investors were guarding against any developments related to events in North Korea this month,” such as a Supreme People’s Assembly meeting later Tuesday and the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the supreme leader of the reclusive country, said Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co.
“Unable to predict what would happen, players retreated to the sidelines,” Tabei added.
A bank-affiliated securities firm official said that in view of the U.S. missile attack on Syria last week, investors were especially wary of how the United States would react to possible North Korean provocations.
Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,384 to 504 on the TSE’s first section, while 124 issues were unchanged.
Volume fell to 1.691 billion shares from Monday’s 1.732 billion.
Export-oriented names, such as automaker Toyota, chipmaking equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron, camera maker Canon and electronic parts supplier Nidec, were downbeat.
Toshiba met with selling while investors were closely watching whether the embattled electronics and machinery maker could avoid putting off the release of a financial statement for a third time.
Also on the minus side were mega-bank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho, game maker Nintendo and mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group.
By contrast, defense-related Ishikawa Seisakusho attracted buying.
Clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing, mobile phone carrier KDDI, realtor Mitsui Fudosan and retail giant Seven & I Holdings were also buoyant.