Tokyo stocks turn lower on refueled trade war concerns


Stocks turned lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Thursday, weighed down by rekindled concerns over an escalation of the U.S.-China trade conflict.

The 225-issue Nikkei stock average finished down 125.58 points, or 0.59 percent, at 21,062.98. On Wednesday, it rose 121.33 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues fell 6.60 points, or 0.43 percent, to end at 1,537.55, after a 9.17-point jump the previous day.

The market opened lower as a sense of caution spread after U.S. President Donald Trump signed on Wednesday an executive order forbidding U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by foreign companies deemed national security threats.

The order apparently targets Chinese information technology giant Huawei Technologies Co., brokers said.

But stocks displayed some resilience around the midmorning as investors moved to hunt bargains. In the afternoon, the market struggled for direction.

“Stocks resisted falling further amid growing expectations for Trump to delay his auto tariff decision and for U.S.-China ministerial-level trade talks to be resumed,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities Ltd.

Media reports said Wednesday that Trump is considering putting off his decision on whether to slap fresh tariffs on cars and parts from the European Union and Japan by up to six months. The delay is expected to be announced Saturday, the current deadline for the decision.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a Senate subcommittee meeting that he would visit Beijing in the near future to restart the ministerial-level trade talks.

The market was also supported by the Shanghai market’s continued rise, an official of a bank-affiliated securities firm said.

But investors refrained from active buying due to a dearth of powerful incentives, a market source said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,227 to 845 in the TSE’s first section, while 68 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.46 billion shares from the previous day’s 1.52 billion shares.

Mega-bank group Mitsubishi UFJ sagged 3.59 percent because its net profit forecast for the year through March 2020 and no announcement of a share buyback plan disappointed investors, brokers said.

Dentsu suffered a 8.49 percent loss, after the advertising giant released dismal January-March earnings figures.

Other losers included cosmetics maker Shiseido and Sumitomo Chemical.

On the other hand, KDDI rose 2.25 percent after the mobile phone carrier said it will buy back shares.

Among other winners were restaurant chain Skylark and realtor Sumitomo Realty & Development.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average went down 110 points to end at 21,050.



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