Japan stocks lose steam but still near 14-month peak

Japan stocks lose steam but still near 14-month peak
People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. (AP)
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Updated 25 December 2019

Japan stocks lose steam but still near 14-month peak

Japan stocks lose steam but still near 14-month peak
  • The Nikkei share average ticked down 0.20 percent to 23,782.87 while the broader Topix lost 0.39 percent to 1,721.42

TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average dipped in holiday-thinned trade on Wednesday, while Nissan hit an eight-year low after a top executive tasked with leading a recovery at the troubled automaker abruptly resigned just weeks into his new job.

The Nikkei share average ticked down 0.20 percent to 23,782.87 while the broader Topix lost 0.39 percent to 1,721.42, with 34 shares declining for every 10 gainers.

While the Nikkei was not far from a 14-month high of 24,091 hit last week, its rally on the back of optimism on the global economic outlook and US-China trade negotiations has petered out with many players away for holidays.

The dearth of big macroeconomic events prompted traders to focus on shares that had some news. Nissan Motor fell 3.1 percent to a low last seen in September 2011 after Jun Seki, its vice chief operating officer and a former contender for CEO, said he was leaving the firm to become the president of Nidec Corp.

His decision is seen as a potential blow to the automaker’s push to turn the corner on a scandal involving ousted former Chairman Carlos Ghosn and slumping sales.

Nidec shares gained 0.3 percent.

Shimamura tumbled 7.6 percent after the clothing retailer cut its profit estimates for the year to February by about 25 percent, citing weak sales.

Sugi Holdings lost 6.5 percent after the drugstore chain operator’s quarterly earnings fell short of strong market expectations.

Japan Post Insurance dropped 1.1 percent and its parent Japan Post Holdings ticked down 0.7 percent amid media report that the CEO of Japan Post Holdings and two top executives at Japan Post Insurance will resign this week over the improper sales of insurance policies.

Japan Post Insurance has been marred by the scandal for months and its shares have lost almost 30 percent of their value so far this year, compared to 19 percent gains in the Nikkei.

The market has shown limited response so far on a proposed overhaul of the Tokyo Stock Exchange that could set a fairly low minimum market capitalization requirement for the bourse’s planned “prime market.”

The proposal suggests a few hundred small cap shares could be excluded from the Topix index, market players said.

“The shares that are likely to be excluded are illiquid in the first place so few investors are trying to sell them now,” said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief executive of Investrust.


UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April
Updated 15 January 2021

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April

UK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April
  • The fall in gross domestic product much lower than the average forecast for a 5.7 percent drop

LONDON: Britain’s economy shrank by 2.6 percent in November, the first monthly fall in output since the depths of an initial COVID lockdown in April, as new restrictions were imposed on much of the country to slow the spread of the disease.
The fall in gross domestic product reported by the Office for National Statistics was much lower than the average forecast for a 5.7 percent drop in a Reuters poll of economists.
The Bank of England estimates Britain’s economy shrank by just over 1 percent over the final three months of 2020, and with a new lockdown in place since January the country is likely to have fallen into a double-dip recession.
The BoE ramped up its bond-buying program to almost 900 billion pounds in November and Governor Andrew Bailey said this week that it was too soon to say if further stimulus would be needed.