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Tokyo shares close down 0.28%

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Tokyo shares closed down 0.28 percent Tuesday, snapping an eight-day winning streak as late profit taking erased earlier gains.The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 34.24 points to 12,314.81, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was 0.39 percent, or 4.08 points, lower at 1,035.90."Players cashed in on recent gains towards the end of the day's trading," said Hirokazu Fujiki, strategist at Okasan Securities."Today's profit-taking does not mean the recent bullish trend was... reversed. The market is still likely to test higher levels ahead of the next Bank of Japan meeting."The recent rally came as Haruhiko Kuroda, a finance veteran and current Asian Development Bank head who is a strong supporter of monetary easing, is likely to be confirmed by parliament.Kuroda has long criticised the BoJ for doing too little to lift the economy, and is seen as likely to lead a fresh drive for more spending and aggressive easing to beat years of deflation.The Nikkei started off the morning in positive territory on a weakening yen and after the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a fresh record for the fifth straight day, adding 0.35 percent to close at 14,447.29.In afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar fetched 96.47 yen, from 96.26 yen in New York Monday, although the euro edged down to 125.53 yen -- after touching 126 yen earlier in the day -- from 125.59 yen in New York.Shares in major exporters, which were higher in morning trade, lost ground on profit-taking as Toyota fell 0.80 percent to 4,960 yen and Sony slipped 1.98 percent to 1,478 yen. Nissan was flat at 993 yen.Dollar-buying sentiment was expected to remain strong, supported by improving US economic data including better-than-expected jobs figures, said Daisaku Ueno, senior foreign exchange strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley.Friday's strong US jobs data "changed the picture for the dollar/yen" and "expectations of US economic recovery are strong", Ueno told Dow Jones Newswires.The US Labor Department reported that the economy generated a net 236,000 new jobs in February, far more than expected and pulling the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.Investors will be looking to another string of US releases this week, including retail sales, industrial production, and weekly jobless claims, Ueno said.si/pb/dan

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