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Nikkei edges down 0.05 pct in directionless trade ahead of U.S. jobs data

English.news.cn   2014-04-04 16:20:23

TOKYO, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Nikkei stock index edged down 0.05 percent Friday as investors hit the sidelines amid a lack of fresh catalysts and ahead of key jobs data due out from the U.S. later in the day.

Local traders said that buying sentiment diminished on the last trading day of the week as investors had already locked in gains from the market's three week closing high Thursday, with the yen's comparative strength against the U.S. dollar and shares in the U.S. dipping overnight also contributing to a circumspect mood.

They added that trade was thin and directionless as short and longer-term positions remained up in the air ahead of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' releasing employment data for the U.S. later Friday, but said that hopes remained high for positive numbers following the ADP's payroll data, widely seen as precursor for labor bureau's statistics, showing Thursday that private sector payrolls increased in March.

"Investors just have to wait for the jobs report. It's all about how U.S. markets react to it," noted Yusuke Kuwayama, a portfolio manager at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.

Other strategists said that following Japan's consumption tax rising here at the beginning of the month from 5 to 8 percent, investors were also in a wait-and-see mood ahead of the central bank's two-day policy meeting starting Monday, to see if there were any indications the Bank of Japan intends to roll out additional monetary easing measures to underpin the expected fallout from the tax hike.

"Market players are still holding out hope that the central bank will increase its monetary easing programs in light of the tax hike and to provide a floor to the market," said one Tokyo- based technical analyst.

The Nikkei Stock Average dropped 8.11 points from Thursday to close at 15,063.77, while the broader Topix index shed 0.88 point, or 0.07 percent to finish at 1,215.89, bringing its nine-day winning streak to an end.

Mobile phone service provider Softbank weighed heavily on the Nikkei, slumping 2.7 percent to 7,921 yen, while telecommunications firm KDDI retreated 1.9 percent to finish at 5, 740 yen.

Information technology, equipment and service provider Fujitsu was also among Friday's notable decliners, dropping 1.9 percent to 615 yen, after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the firm's shares from "buy" to "neutral".

Retailers also came under selling pressure, with Seven & I, the world's fifth largest retailer, losing 1.2 percent to 3,929 yen, after its net income target for the current fiscal year missed median analysts' expectations.

Supermarket operator Uny Group Holdings also closed in negative territory after cutting its group net profit estimate for fiscal 2013, dropping 2.3 percent to close at 598 yen.

Real estate issues ended mixed, with Mitsui Fudosan jumping 2.3 percent to 3,323 yen after Credit Suisse issued a favorable profit guidance for this fiscal year, but Sekisui House SI Investment Corp. fell 3.6 percent to 101,100 yen, after announcing a share sale to increase profits.

Trading volume on Friday fell to 1.70 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, tumbling from Thursday's volume of 2.06 billion shares, with declining issues outnumbering advancing ones by 890 to 769.

Editor: Shen Qing
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