Tokyo stocks close mixed
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
TOKYO: Tokyo stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as investors locked in profits following a surge in the previous session while the market was guided lower by a strengthening yen.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.31 percent, or 35.53 points, to 11,372.34, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.10 percent, or 0.92 points, at 963.61.
The Nikkei's slide came after the index jumped 2.09 percent Monday on a weaker yen after Japan avoided accusations of unfairly weakening its currency by the Group of 20 leading economies at the weekend.
Critics, particularly in Europe, have accused Tokyo of engineering a devaluation of the yen, sparking fears of a global currency war in which rival nations drive down their currencies to gain a trade advantage.
Japanese officials have repeatedly denied the claims.
"The US market was closed (for a holiday Monday), and European markets were mixed," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that investors had few trading cues.
Investors were looking ahead to elections in Italy later this month and the nomination of the next Bank of Japan governor, which could prove to be a major catalyst for yen trading.
On Tuesday, the yen was pushed higher after Finance Minister Taro Aso said Japan was not thinking about foreign bond purchases or changing a law governing the Bank of Japan.
Aso's comments came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday signalled he may rein in the bank's independence if it fails to meet its new two-percent inflation target, introduced under political pressure as part of a plan to lift the economy.
In forex trade, the dollar slipped to 93.69 yen from 93.95 yen in London on Monday afternoon.
"The (dollar/yen) pair fell on Mr. Aso's remarks on foreign bond purchases," said a senior dealer at a major Japanese trust bank.
The euro bought 125.11 yen against 125.43 yen.
In stock trading, Bridgestone jumped 10.37 percent to end at 2,820 yen after the tyre maker said Monday it expects a record 235 billion yen net profit in 2013.
Panasonic slipped 0.45 percent to 664 yen, Nissan lost 1.05 percent to 940 yen and All Nippon Airways rose 2.13 percent to 191 yen. (AFP)