Tokyo stocks turn lower amid slow trading

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Tokyo stocks weakened Tuesday as investors continued to stand on the sidelines ahead of corporate earnings releases by major Japanese companies.

The 225-issue Nikkei average slipped 134.34 points, or 0.46%, to end at 28,991.89. On Monday, the key average climbed 105.60 points.

The Topix index of all first section issues ended down 14.60 points, or 0.76%, at 1,903.55, after inching up 3.17 points the previous day.

Following mixed results on Wall Street overnight, the Nikkei average hovered near the previous day’s close in the morning while the Topix index moved narrowly in negative territory.

The Nikkei headed south later in the day after semiconductor issues, which had underpinned the stock average in the morning following a record-high finish for the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq composite index the day before, weakened.

Sluggish trading in Chinese markets also dampened investor sentiment in Tokyo, brokers said.

Trading was lackluster as market players focused their attention on companies which have released earnings reports while taking a wait-and-see attitude toward those which have yet to do so.

The Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting through Tuesday did little to sway investors as the central bank decided to maintain its monetary easing policy as expected, brokers said.

“With the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, corporate earnings releases and Japan’s Golden Week holiday period coming up, many investors have taken to sitting on the fence,” Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc., said.

On the TSE first section, decliners outnumbered gainers 1,338 to 749 while 103 issues were unchanged. Volume totaled 1.159 billion shares, compared with Monday’s 974 million shares.

Drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo dipped 3.46% after its operating profit forecast for the fiscal year through next March, released during trading hours, underwhelmed market expectations.

Electronic parts supplier Nitto Denko also fell after releasing its earnings the day before.

Semiconductor-related names such as silicon wafer producer Shin-Etsu Chemical were among other losers.

On the other hand, soy sauce-maker Kikkoman jumped 4.27% after posting increases for both operating and net profits in the fiscal year that ended in March.

Fast Retailing also attracted buying.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average shed 180 points to end at 28,990.

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