Tokyo stocks end lower on profit taking

Tokyo, Dec 18 (AFP/APP): Tokyo shares ended lower Wednesday as investors locked in profit following recent gains, although a broadly positive market sentiment remained intact, boosted by positive economic data and a US-China trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.55 percent or 131.69 points at 23,934.43, while the broader Topix index lost 0.50 percent or 8.80 points to 1,738.40.

Investors collected profits amid a dearth of fresh news after the Nikkei closed on Tuesday at its highest level since October 2018.

“The Nikkei began the day a bit lower as investors digested the partial trade deal reached on Friday between the United States and China, while seeing no other major news,” SMBC Nikko Securities said in a note.

Okasan Online Securities echoed the view, and said players wanted to keep what they have before making new moves.

“A sense of uncertainty has receded but the Nikkei began the day in negative territory as investors locked in profit after the index renewed the year’s high in the previous session,” the brokerage said.

“From there, the market failed to find a clear direction as it lacked fresh incentives,” the brokerage added.

Other major Asian markets followed suit and headed south, putting further pressure on the Tokyo market.

The dollar fetched 109.42 yen in Asian trade, against 109.50 yen in New York.

Among major shares, Fujifilm Holdings erased earlier gains and ended 0.77 percent lower at 5,277 yen.

The company said it will acquire a business unit related to diagnostic imaging from engineering firm Hitachi for estimated 179 billion yen ($1.6 billion).

Hitachi gained 3.14 percent to 4,465 yen, as investors also cheered a report that the company was nearing a settlement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries over a dispute related to a power plant construction project in South Africa.

Commercial truck maker Isuzu Motors rose 1.54 percent to 1,385 yen, as it announced forming a strategic alliance with Volvo Group.

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing gave up 0.92 percent to 67,020 yen.

SoftBank Group added 1.83 percent to 4,607 yen.

Tokyo stocks open higher with eyes on key global events


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