Tokyo shares close 1.20pc lower
October 31, 2013 - 9:15:08 am
TOKYO: Tokyo stocks fell 1.20 percent Thursday on profit-taking, as the central bank held off launching fresh monetary easing measures and dealers awaited Japanese corporate results.
The Nikkei 225 index declined 174.41 points to 14,327.94, while the Topix index of all first-section shares eased 0.85 percent, or 10.24 points, to 1,194.26.
The Nikkei has risen 2.9 percent in the past three sessions.
Shortly before the market close, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to delay launching fresh easing measures as the economy shows increasing signs that a government-backed policy blitz aimed at reviving growth is gaining traction.
In its latest semi-annual outlook report on growth and prices, the BoJ also stuck to its bullish inflation outlook, suggesting the chance of monetary policy action in the near term is slim, even as private-sector professionals continue to see the central bank's price projection as unrealistic.
With data indicating the world's number three economy slowly picking up, BoJ policymakers had been expected to hold fire as they study the effects of the unprecedented pump-priming that has seen billions of dollars flood financial markets.
"Individual share moves aside, the broader markets are little changed, as weaker-yen based buying is offset by profit-taking from recent gains and a reluctance to chase the market much higher based on current valuations," said Tachibana Securities market adviser, Kenichi Hirano.
"Earnings results thus far at the peak of the season, while not without misses, still leave room for optimism entering the fiscal second half," he said.
An equity trading director at a foreign brokerage added: "As Japan enters the peak of the current earnings reporting season, focus remains on significant full fiscal-year forecast revisions, which have been somewhat lacking to date."
Some analysts noted selloffs in bellwether shares such as Honda Motor and Toshiba after their corporate results.
"The common thread among the business results we've seen thus far is that expectations may have been a bit too high to start," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.
Honda Motor fell 1.26 percent to 3,915 yen, with Toshiba off 5.23 percent at 416 yen.
"Investors are closely watching SoftBank and Sony now to see how the rest of the season may shape up," the trading director said.
ANA Holdings fell 4.65 percent to 205 yen after the operator of All Nippon Airways issued weak first-half results and slashed its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday.
GS Yuasa lost 6.06 percent at 589 after posting a first-half operating profit of 3.7 billion yen, below guidance of 4.0 billion yen.
But Panasonic was up 3.79 percent at 985 yen following a Nikkei report that the firm will eliminate 250-350 jobs at two domestically located rechargeable battery factories via an early retirement programme.
In New York the Dow fell 0.39 percent and the S&P 500 declined 0.49 percent a day after both ended at record highs. The Nasdaq lost 0.55 percent.
The dollar Wednesday advanced against other major currencies after the US Federal Reserve kept its stimulus programme in place but gave an upbeat view of the economy which dealers took as a hint the programme would wind down soon.
On currency markets, the dollar was at 98.32 yen Thursday afternoon, slightly down from 98.52 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon but above Tokyo levels before the Fed announcement. (AFP)