Japan’s Nikkei Little Changed Ahead of Key US Data, Central Bank Meetings (Update 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Stock Exchange

TOKYO, June 7 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average was little changed on Friday as investors sought further direction from a key U.S. jobs report due later in the day and central bank meetings in the United States and Japan next week.

The Nikkei closed at 38,683.90, down 0.05% on the day. For the week, it rose 0.44%.

Of the 225 stocks on the Nikkei, 121 rose and 104 fell.

The broader Topix was also largely flat, inching down 0.08% to 2,755.03. The index posted a 0.63% loss for the week.

“It was hard for investors to actively buy stocks ahead of key data and events,” said Jun Morita, general manager of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.

“Particularly, the market was cautious about what sort of message the Bank of Japan (BOJ) would send when the global central banks are on track for rate cuts.”

The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to provide clues on the timing of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.

Overnight, the European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time in nearly five years. The Bank of Canada pipped the ECB to become the first G7 country to cut rates in this cycle on Wednesday.

Among individual stocks, Shionogi tanked 14% after the company said its weight-loss drug failed to achieve the weight-loss target rate of 5% in a test.

Chip-related stocks Tokyo Electron and Advantest fell 0.78% and 2.29%, respectively. Technology investor SoftBank Group slipped 0.58%.

The utility sector fell 1.29% to become the worst performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes.

On the other hand, Lasertec jumped 4.87% to become the top percentage gainer on the Nikkei. However, the stock declined 10.6% for the week amid an allegation of improper accounting practices by Scorpion Capital, which the microchip equipment maker denied.