Tokyo stocks close down 0.19pc

May 02, 2014 - 9:28:58 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks slipped 0.19 percent Friday as profit-taking set in and investors await a US jobs report later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index eased 27.62 points to finish at 14,457.51, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was flat, inching up 0.02 percent, or 0.28 points to 1,182.48.

Investors want to see if the employment report later Friday confirms expectations that the world's biggest economy is rebounding after a near-stall in the first quarter.

Tokyo added 1.27 percent on Thursday as some upbeat Japanese corporate earnings lifted the market, while the Federal Reserve's comments that the US economy was picking up also lent support.

On Friday, investors largely ignored fresh Japanese economic data which showed household spending jumped in March on high demand ahead of an April sales tax rise.

While the jobless rate stayed at its lowest level in more than six years.

The figures came two days after Bank of Japan policymakers cut their economic growth expectations.

But held fire on new stimulus measures as they keep an eye on the impact of the April 1 tax hike.

"There are very few trading incentives," an equity trading director at a European brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.

"Without any Bank of Japan easing or some other macro-reason for investors to bet on the Nikkei, we could continue to simply churn like this through May."

The Nikkei is down about 11 percent since the start of the year.

Sony shares were down 0.55 percent to 1,800 yen, after warning of a bigger-than-expected annual loss after markets closed Thursday.

The electronics giant said it would book a 130 billion yen net loss or $1.27 billion in the latest fiscal year to March, while it slashed its operating earnings outlook.

It had earlier predicted a 110 billion yen loss.

But the company's forecast that revenue would rise in the just-ended fiscal year kept losses capped, dealers said.

Panasonic fell 1.67 percent to 1,118 yen, Toyota lost 0.14 percent to finish at 5,631 yen, while Nissan was down 0.78 percent to 884 yen.

In currency markets, the dollar bought 102.45 yen against 102.30 yen in New York Thursday.

Japanese financial markets will be closed Monday and Tuesday for a national holiday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.13 percent, the broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.01 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 0.31 percent.  (AFP)