Tokyo stocks fall further on yen’s rise

15 May


Stocks lost further ground on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Monday, weighed down by the yen’s strengthening against the dollar.

The 225-issue Nikkei average fell 14.05 points, or 0.07 percent, to end at 19,869.85. On Friday, the key market gauge lost 77.65 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues finished down 0.71 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,580.00, after shedding 6.15 points the previous trading day.

Stocks opened weaker after the Dow Jones industrial average continued to fall in New York on Friday and the dollar dropped against the yen, mainly on the back of weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales in April.

Also, investor sentiment was somewhat dampened by the global cyberattack that began late last week and a missile launch by North Korea on Sunday, brokers said.

After the Nikkei average lost more than 140 points, however, the market recouped much of the losses by the middle of the morning session.

Gains in realtors and other domestic demand-oriented names as well as in issues with brisk corporate earnings helped limit the market’s downside, according to brokers.

In addition, the market was supported by hopes for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan, brokers said.

“Due to the sluggish U.S. economic indicator, the global cyberattack and the missile launch, investors were unable to take risks actively,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

“The market was also weighed down by selling to lock in profits, reflecting concerns over high stock prices” after the recent sharp gains, Ota added.

With investors’ buying appetite remaining strong, however, stocks were caught in a tag of war between buying on dips and profit-taking, he said.

An official of an asset management firm said that the losses were limited as investors were relieved by a pause in the yen’s ascent, contrary to worries that the yen could strengthen further amid escalating geopolitical tensions.

The market is likely to have priced in the missile launch by North Korea with Monday’s losses unless any surprising related development is reported, an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,057 to 854 in the TSE’s first section, while 104 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 2.155 billion shares from Friday’s 2.248 billion shares.

Export-oriented names, such as automakers Toyota and Subaru, technology firm Kyocera and semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron, met with selling.

Financial issues, including mega-bank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui, lost ground.

Oil companies JXTG Holdings, Inpex and Japex suffered sharp drops, reflecting a fall in crude oil prices.

Mobile phone carrier SoftBank Group and clothing store chain operator Fast Retailing, heavyweights of the Nikkei average, were also downbeat.

By contrast, Nomura Real Estate posed a daily limit gain on news reports that Japan Post is considering buying a majority stake in the realtor through a tender offer.

Industry competitor Mitsui Fudosan attracted hefty buying after releasing stronger-than-expected earnings estimates for the year through March.

Cosmetics-maker Shiseido jumped 6.99 percent after announcing brisk earnings for the January-March period.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average rose 10 points to close at 19,890.

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