Tokyo shares end morning in the red as yen picks up

 28 Aug 2017 - 9:13

Tokyo shares end morning in the red as yen picks up

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks lost early gains Monday morning as stronger yen weighed and investors waited for fresh trading cues after a closely watched central bank meeting offered up few surprises.

The Japanese market rose at the start, tracking gains on Wall Street on Friday, but a stronger yen -- a negative for exporters' profitability -- dragged the main indexes into the red.

The dollar stood at 109.16 yen, down from 109.30 yen in New York late Friday.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.11 percent, or 21.96 points, to 19,430.65 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues edged down 0.06 percent, or 0.90 points, to 1,596.09.

"The Nikkei index touched above the 19,500 level in early trading with the forex market steady and after the Jackson Hole meeting ended without a hitch," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary. 

"But after an initial round of buybacks, the index began to slow its ascent due to a lack of buying incentives and ended up into the negative territory," it added.

At the Jackson Hole symposium, US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen "didn't touch on the outlook (of the Fed's policy)", Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, told Bloomberg News.

Yellen and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi scrupulously avoided making policy pronouncements that could unsettle markets.

Instead, Yellen defended regulations adopted after the 2008 financial meltdown, effectively rebutting White House calls for a rollback, while Draghi delivered a plea for maintaining trade liberalisation.

Among major Tokyo shares, game giant Nintendo jumped 2.03 percent to 36,770 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, slipped 0.09 percent to 31,710 yen.

Panasonic slipped 0.07 percent to end the morning at 1,453.5 yen while Sony dropped 0.19 percent to 4,191 yen.

Nissan was down 0.37 percent at 1,078.5 yen after Japan's Nikkei daily said the automaker plans to boost output at a plant in Britain by 20 percent and source more parts within the country bracing for its exit from the European Union.