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Tokyo: Stocks off 3.5-month peak as firmer yen weighs on market

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Japanese shares ended lower on Tuesday, slipping from a 3.5 month high hit in the previous session, as a firmer yen weighed on the market, with carmakers and chip-related companies leading the decline.

[SYDNEY] Japanese shares ended lower on Tuesday, slipping from a 3.5-month high hit in the previous session, as a firmer yen weighed on the market, with carmakers and chip-related companies leading the decline.

The benchmark Nikkei average dipped 0.4 per cent to 23,091.03. It had hit its highest closing level since Feb 21 on Monday.

This was despite an overnight rally on Wall Street that took the Nasdaq Composite to a record high and the S&P 500 in positive territory for the year as expectations for a swift economic recovery from a coronavirus-driven slump increased.

"As some technical signs suggested the market is overheated, it's no surprise if we feel top heavy in the short term," said Takeo Kamai, head of executions services at CLSA in Tokyo.

The broader Topix eased 0.1 per cent to 1,628.43, also off its highest closing since Feb 21, with more than two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange finishing lower.

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Highly cyclical iron and steel, sea transport and non-ferrous metals were the worst three performing sectors on the main bourse.

In the currency market, the safe-haven yen rebounded from Friday's 2.5-month low versus the US dollar, with the dollar/yen trading at 107.915 yen, a level unseen for a week.

As a firmer yen hurts Japanese manufacturers' profits made abroad when repatriated, shares of export-oriented carmakers came under pressure, with Nissan Motor tumbling 4.8 per cent and Mazda Motor falling 3.1 per cent.

Taking a weak lead from their Wall Street peers, chip-making gear maker Tokyo Electron slid 2.7 per cent, while test device maker Advantest shed 3.9 per cent.

Bucking the overall market's weakness, home improvement store operator Lixil Viva, a subsidiary of Lixil Group, advanced 3.2 per cent after the Nikkei business daily reported Lixil Group plans to sell its majority stake in Lixil Viva to its domestic peer, Arcland Sakamoto.

Shares of Arcland Sakamoto soared 15.1 per cent, while Lixil Group ended flat. 

REUTERS

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