Tokyo Stocks Barely Extend Winning Streak to 5 Sessions

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

Tokyo —Tokyo stocks managed to end higher for the fifth consecutive session Thursday, after struggling for direction in a cautious mood as key U.S. inflation data loomed.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Prime section edged up 3.82 points, or 0.01 pct, to finish at 26,449.82, after surging 270.44 points Wednesday.

The broader TOPIX index closed 6.93 points, or 0.36 pct, higher at 1,908.18, following a 20.37-point jump the previous day.

Soon after opening moderately higher in the wake of all three key U.S. price gauges extending gains Wednesday, the market fell into negative terrain.

While the TOPIX index recouped losses to return to the positive side, the Nikkei hovered around the flat line for the rest of the session.

Both indexes were stuck in narrow ranges with investors waiting for the U.S. consumer price index for December, due out later on Thursday, Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., said.

“The market’s topside proved heavy, as wariness over the CPI and the Bank of Japan’s further easing policy revision induced selling to reduce overweight positions,” said Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

Meanwhile, Ichikawa pointed out that investors hunted banks, in particular, amid the fresh BOJ policy tweak speculation, which grew after a media report that the central bank would review the side effects of its unprecedented easing at its policy meeting next week.

Also underpinning the market were expectations for U.S. consumer inflation’s slowdown, which would raise the chance of the Federal Reserve starting cutting interest rates by the end of the year to engineer the U.S. economy’s “soft landing,” Sawada added.

On the Prime section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,002 to 742 while 94 issues were flat. Volume rose to 1,238 million shares from Wednesday’s 1,058 million shares.

Megabanks Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui jumped 5.02 pct and 4.40 pct, respectively.

Saizeriya advanced 3.45 pct after the restaurant chain logged an operating profit for September-November 2022 to achieve a turnaround and announced a plan to buy back own shares.

The U.S. technology sector’s sharp advance Wednesday boosted Japanese tech names, including motor maker Nidec, up 2.55 pct, electronic parts supplier Murata Manufacturing, up 1.82 pct, and semiconductor production equipment maker Tokyo Electron, up 1.79 pct.

On the other hand, footwear retailer ABC-Mart slumped 4.76 pct as its operating profit for March-November last year failed to beat the consensus estimate.

Cosmetics maker Shiseido lost 2.72 pct and drugmaker Eisai 2.61 pct.

Clothing retailer Fast Retailing shed 1.98 pct ahead of its earnings announcement after the closing bell.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average fell 40 points to 26,370.