Tokyo stocks close down ahead of holiday weekend

 22 Dec 2016 - 11:07

Tokyo stocks close down ahead of holiday weekend

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks closed lower Thursday, tracking losses on Wall Street ahead of a long, holiday weekend and as investors took profits after the market hit a 12-month high this week.

The Dow sank for just the fourth time this month on Wednesday -- having hit records on several days and heading towards the key 20,000 mark -- with financial stocks rattled by concerns over Italy's troubled banking sector.

"With foreign investors on their Christmas holidays, the market will be devoid of buyers," said Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co.

"The downside will remain supported by dip buying by those who didn't get a chance to ride the recent rally," he told Bloomberg News.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.09 percent, or 16.82 points, to close the week at 19,427.67 -- up 0.13 percent from last Friday.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.07 percent, or 1.12 points, to 1,543.82. For the week, the index fell 0.44 percent. 

Financial markets are closed on Friday in Japan.

Japanese monthly household spending, unemployment, inflation and factory output data are due for release next week. 

Stocks have rallied since Donald Trump was elected US president as dealers bet his plans for big spending and tax cuts will fan inflation and force the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates -- sending the dollar soaring against the yen.

The dollar bought 117.68 yen in Tokyo Thursday, up from 117.53 yen in New York and around 17 percent up since Trump's election win.

Financials faced fresh pressure as Italy's ailing banking sector buckles under billions of dollars of bad loans, which many fear could collapse, sending shockwaves through global markets.

Even the Italian parliament's approval of a 20 billion euro ($20.9 billion) support package was not enough to soothe nerves.

In Tokyo, banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 0.49 percent to 745.3 yen while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial sank 0.69 percent to 4,603 yen.

Japan Display declined 4.64 percent to 349 yen, while NEC was down 1.90 percent at 309 yen and Olympus lost 5.07 percent to end at 3,925 yen.

But Honda rose 1.21 percent to 3,570 yen after it said it was in talks with a Google spin-off to jointly develop self-driving technology.

The auto giant is aiming at test drives on US roads with its vehicles loaded with sensors and software by Waymo, the self-driving technology company under Google's parent holding company Alphabet.