Nikkei stock index slides before U.S. jobs data, holidays
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Nikkei stock index fell slightly Friday in light pre-holiday trading as investors cashed in on recent gains ahead of a closely watched U.S. jobs report due out later in the day.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 27.62 points, or 0.19 percent, from Thursday at 14,457.51. Meanwhile, the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange eked out a gain of 0.28 point, or 0.02 percent, to 1,182.48.
Brokers said many market players retreated to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. jobs report for April and before the close of Japanese financial markets through Tuesday for national holidays.
In such thin trading, profit-taking set in following a recent rally that pushed up the Nikkei index nearly 200 points over the past two days. The key market yardstick was confined to a narrow range of less than 70 points Friday.
"Traders do not want to pile up their positions before the holidays and with the release of the jobs report coming up, a wait-and-see mood was increasing," said Masashi Akutsu, equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
He added that sharp stock selling was prevented thanks to media reports that the impact of the April 1 sales tax hike on consumption has been largely within companies' projections, as well as positive U.S. economic data, such as a better-than-expected reading of the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers' index for April.
Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co., said, "Profit-taking slightly took the upper hand as the market saw relatively solid gains the previous day."
"But with the yen's depreciation and given some positive earnings, the market's downside was solid," he added.
Sony was one of the day's most actively traded issues by value, falling 10 yen, or 0.6 percent, to 1,800 yen after widening its net loss outlook for fiscal 2013 due to additional expenses to withdraw from the personal computer business.
Trading houses were mixed, with Itochu rising 7 yen, or 0.6 percent, to 1,165 yen after reporting a record net profit for fiscal 2013, while Sumitomo slid 17 yen, or 1.3 percent, to 1,304 yen following its announcement of a 4 percent drop in net profit for the same period.
Medium-sized broadcasting equipment maker Ikegami Tsushinki jumped 7 yen, or 6.9 percent, to 108 yen as it more than doubled its net profit forecast for fiscal 2013.
By sector, utility, mining, and nonferrous metal shares succumbed to selling while real estate, shipping and banking shares were firmer.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 896 to 731 on the First Section, while 180 closed unchanged.
Trading volume on the main section fell to 1,687.57 million shares from Thursday's 1,955.52 million shares.
(c) 2014 Kyodo News
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