Japan’s Nikkei Edges Higher as Shipper Gains Outweigh Retailer Losses

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average edged higher on Tuesday as gains for shippers and chip stocks outweighed declines for retailers.

Overall, though, the market fluctuated in very narrow ranges amid a dearth of trading cues and with many market participants away for year-end holidays.

The Nikkei finished 0.16% higher at 33,305.85, while the broader Topix added 0.06%.

“You don’t get a sense of any real direction from movements in the stock market today,” said Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura Securities.

“The Nikkei feels like its latched closely to the previous day’s closing level,” as thin trading conditions continue with many market participants absent, she said.

Volume of trade was about 680 million shares on Tuesday, after dropping to an eight-month low of 590 million shares on Monday.

Shippers saw a volatile session, but ended as the best performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry groups, gaining 1.2%. Nippon Yusen rose 1.63% and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines advanced 1.53%.

Chip stocks turned higher in the afternoon, with Tokyo Electron and Advantest ending the day as the biggest points gainers on the Nikkei, with respective 1.1% and 1.62% rises.

At the other end, Odakyu Electric Railway, which operates department stores as well as trains, lost 4.22% to be the Nikkei’s biggest percentage decliner.

Retailer Takashimaya was next with a 3.16% drop, despite reporting solid earnings after Monday’s market close. It had climbed 2.36% the previous day in the run-up to the results. J.Front Retailing fell 2.53%, ahead of its own financial report after Tuesday’s close.

Uniqlo store owner Fast Retailing sank 0.39%, which was enough to make it the Nikkei’s biggest points decliner due to its outsized weighting.