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Tokyo stocks end slightly lower on weak export-oriented shares

This file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks finished slightly lower Wednesday, weighed down by falls in automakers and other export-oriented issues after the yen rose to its highest level in about a month against the dollar during New York trading.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 70.34 points, or 0.26 percent, from Tuesday at 26,677.80. The broader Topix index finished 1.68 points, or 0.09 percent, lower at 1,876.58.

    On the top-tier Prime Market, decliners were led by farm and fishery, service and transportation equipment issues.

    The U.S. dollar was firmer around the 127 yen line in Tokyo, after the unit briefly dropped to a one-month low of 126.37 yen in New York on a fall in U.S. Treasury yields, dealers said.

    North Korea's firing of three missiles off its east coast in the morning, just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden concluded his first Asia trip since taking office, had a limited impact on the foreign exchange and Tokyo stock markets, dealers and brokers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 127.11-13 yen compared with 126.80-90 yen in New York and 127.27-29 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.0684-0685 and 135.81-85 yen against $1.0730-0740 and 136.12-22 yen in New York and $1.0730-0731 and 136.56-60 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond inched down 0.025 percentage point from Tuesday's close to 0.205 percent, tracking an overnight fall in U.S. Treasury yields.

    Tokyo stocks lacked clear direction in the afternoon in the absence of fresh trading cues, with the Nikkei index hovering around Tuesday's closing level.

    Exporters fell after the yen hit its one-month high overnight, strengthening from the upper 127 yen range logged in Tokyo earlier Tuesday.

    Among automakers, Honda Motor dropped 70 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 3,106 yen and Nissan Motor fell 1.0 yen, or 0.2 percent, to 488.6 yen.

    Investors refrained from making bold moves as they were awaiting the release later Wednesday of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting in May to gauge the future pace of monetary tightening in response to high inflation in the United States.

    "With continuing concerns over high inflation in the United States, it was difficult for investors to actively buy stocks in the Japanese market today," said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

    He added that the market was supported by solid U.S. stock futures and a rise in some other Asian markets.

    Among Prime Market issues, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,114 to 640, while 83 ended unchanged.

    Some technology issues lost steam after the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq index plunged more than 2 percent overnight.

    Murata Manufacturing fell 114 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 8,055 yen and Alps Alpine dipped 20 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 1,381 yen.

    Trading volume on the Prime Market rose to 1,164.92 million shares from Tuesday's 1,113.51 million.

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