News Column

Stocks Closing UPDATE1

February 25, 2014

TOKYO, Feb. 26 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO)

Tokyo stocks declined on profit taking in lackluster Wednesday trading following the Nikkei's advance to a one-month high the previous day.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 80.63 points, or 0.54 percent, from Tuesday at 14,970.97. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 8.31 points, or 0.67 percent, lower at 1,225.35.

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 102 yen level, and briefly popped into the positive column before sliding back to negative territory.

"With the Nikkei having risen more than 200 points the previous day, profit taking took the upper hand at the opening," said Ayako Terada at Nomura Securities Co.'s investment research department.

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.

Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co., said although the Tokyo market's rebound was prevented, its downside was firm, receiving support from the view that the Bank of Japan will eventually implement additional monetary easing while the U.S. Federal Reserve keeps its effective zero-rate policy for the time being.

"For sure, Tokyo stocks are not overvalued, considering corporate earnings results," he said.

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 Tesla Motors Inc. in the United States to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

The stock surged 63 yen, or 5.3 percent, to 1,259 yen, becoming the session's second most actively traded issue by value, after Softbank, which lost 105 yen, or 1.3 percent, to 7,990 yen.

Among major decliners, Nomura Holdings fell 11 yen, or 1.5 percent, to 701 yen and Daiwa Securities Group lost 16 yen, or 1.7 percent, to 931 yen, paring their recent gains.

Restaurant chain operator Zensho took a beating after saying it will raise up to 30 billion yen through a public offering and third-party placement to fund its business expansion. The stock plunged 91 yen, or 7.5 percent, to 1,125 yen.

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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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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