Japan’s Nikkei Falls as Investors Await BOJ Cue on Policy Shift

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average slipped more than 1% on Monday as cautious investors awaited hints from the Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Kazuo Ueda for a possible shift in its ultra-low rates policy.

The Nikkei was down 1.06% at 32,620.75 by the midday break, while the broader Topix fell 1.32% to 2,301.60.

The BOJ is holding a two-day policy meeting, which will conclude in the next session. Market players are waiting for any comments from Ueda on the timing for the policy shift, even as the consensus is that the BOJ would keep its policy unchanged at this meeting.

“It was hard to make buy orders today,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“Investors were cautious about an overreaction of the market when Ueda makes any sensitive comments.”

The market moved sharply last week after Ueda’s comments fueled speculation that the BOJ would announce the end of its negative rate policy as early as this month.

Ueda said the BOJ anticipated an “even more challenging” situation at the year-end and the beginning of next year, sending the yen to a multi-month-high and Japanese government bond yields to surge last week.

Uniqlo-clothing shop operator Fast Retailing fell 1.35% to drag the Nikkei the most. Chip-testing equipment maker Advantest fell 2.19% and staffing agency Recruit Holdings lost 3.84%.

Tokyo Electric Power Holdings lost 4.35% and was the biggest percentage loser on the Nikkei.

Shipping firms jumped 5.47% and was the only sector among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes that rose.