The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 80.63 points, or 0.54 percent, from Tuesday at 14,970.97. The broader
The market got off to a weak start as overnight declines in U.S. shares following weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence data for February led investors to cash in on recent gains.
On Tuesday, the Nikkei jumped 213 points to clear the 15,000 threshold for the first time in about a month.
The key yardstick lost 155 points at the opening on Wednesday to hit a low for the day, but its losses were gradually pared on the back of the U.S. dollar's modest gain in the lower
"With the Nikkei having risen more than 200 points the previous day, profit taking took the upper hand at the opening," said
Trading activity was, however, thin, with volume on the main section falling to 1,921.02 million shares from Tuesday's 2,041.66 million shares.
Terada said without a recovery in trading volume, the market's topside will likely remain heavy. Currently, market players are trying to assess how much a recent bout of soft U.S. economic readings were affected by harsh winter weather and what is the actual state of the world's largest economy, she added.
The day's bright spot was Panasonic, which drew buying on news that the Japanese electronics giant is considering setting up a new plant jointly with
The stock surged
Among major decliners,
Restaurant chain operator
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,319 to 358 on the First Section, while 99 closed unchanged.
By sector, the oil, retail, and insurance sectors were the hardest hit while shipping, utility and pharmaceutical shares edged higher.
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