Nikkei Average Edges Up in Narrow Trading

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The benchmark Nikkei stock average inched up in range-bound trading Monday, while market players awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting.

The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Prime section gained 50.84 points, or 0.19%, to finish at 27,433.40 after rising 19.81 points Friday.

The broader TOPIX index closed 0.26 point, or 0.01%, lower at 1,982.40 following a 4.26-point gain the previous trading day.

The market moved on a relatively firm note on the strength of U.S. stocks Friday but was weighed down by a sense of overheating from the market climb last week.

Stocks somewhat traced the movement of the dollar against the yen, advancing in the morning but showing weakness in the afternoon.

Investors refrained from active trading ahead of the Fed’s two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting from Tuesday, brokers said.

Market players also took to the sidelines ahead of earnings calls by Meta Platforms Inc., Apple Inc. and other U.S. tech giants later this week, said Kazuo Kamitani, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

“Investors focused on selective trading based on earnings reports, amid a lack of overall direction,” Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said.

On the Prime section, gainers outnumbered decliners 960 to 794 while 81 issues were unchanged. Volume crept up to 1,130 million shares from Friday’s 1,102 million shares.

Parcel delivery group SG Holdings jumped 4.75% after announcing Friday that it will raise some delivery prices from April 1. The move also spurred buying of industry peer Yamato Holdings, up 6.47%.

Silicon wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical, up 5.08%, continued to attract buying on a rosy operating profit estimate for the year through March, released Thursday.

TSE operator Japan Exchange Group, or JPX, rose 4.04% after announcing share buybacks during the noon break Monday.

Fanuc scaled 3.58% after the industrial robot maker Friday announced strong earnings for April-December last year and a 5-for-1 stock split for shareholders at the end of March this year.

On the other hand, Nihon M&A Center plunged 22.82% due to profit drops for April-December, released Friday.

Dentsu retreated 2.91% following news reports that officials of the advertising giant admitted to collusion over bid-rigging for contracts linked to test events of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021.

Other major losers included automaker Mitsubishi Motors, down 2.38%.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average gained 10 points to 27,370.