Tokyo stocks close down on profit-taking


Tokyo stocks fell on Tuesday as investors cashed in profits following three straight days of gains.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.21 percent, or 47.84 points, to close at 22,818.02 while the broader Topix index edged down 0.04 percent, or 0.77 points, to 1,805.15.

“Profit-taking can easily emerge following days of sizeable gains,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

“Buying sentiment was also capped by a wait-and-see mood ahead of (economic growth) figures” Wednesday, Sato told AFP.

Some analysts have warned the world’s number three economy may have shrunk for the first time in nine quarters in January-March.

Tokyo shares opened higher with sentiment supported by gains on Wall Street following signs of easing trade tensions between China and the United States.

A Sunday tweet from Donald Trump that US and Chinese officials were working to get Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE “back into business, fast”, helped soothe some investors’ nerves.

Investors will be keeping a close eye on US-China trade discussions, with President Xi Jinping’s top economics official, Vice Premier Liu He, visiting Washington.

Ahead of the meetings, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he was exploring “alternative remedies” for ZTE, which was hit with a seven-year ban last month on acquiring crucial US technology, causing it to cease operations.

The dollar firmed to 109.96 yen from 109.65 yen in New York Monday.

Sony fell 0.34 percent to 5,271 yen and Panasonic lost 0.27 percent to 1,629 yen, with SoftBank down 0.56 percent at 8,579 yen.

Toshiba jumped 3.46 percent to 299 yen after the struggling conglomerate said it had bounced back into the black and will avoid a humiliating delisting from the Tokyo stock exchange.

Banks were trading higher, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group jumping 2.08 percent to 4,648 yen after it announced annual profit growth.

Mitsubishi UFJ rose 1.71 percent to 737.1 yen ahead of its earnings reports after the market close Tuesday.