TOKYO, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The Nikkei stock index edged down 0. 06 percent Thursday despite a positive lead from Wall Street overnight on robust earnings from some tech companies, but a firm yen and a lack of fresh catalysts wiped out the market's early gains.
The Nikkei 225 index lost 9.04 points to end the day at 15,370. 26, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues shed 0.21 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 1,273.38.
Local analysts suggested the market may be starting to lose some of the momentum it's been showing since last month's rally and while investors were picking up shares in early trade, as the yen rose against the U.S. dollar, positions were offloaded.
"The market is losing momentum after starting strong, with the yen putting a lid on shares. I don't think the market is overpriced, but investors just don't have catalysts to buy further, " said Kenji Ueno, a senior investment manager at Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management Co.
In the afternoon session, other analysts said the market lacked driving forces and finally capitulated to the yen's strength.
Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. noted that the market lacked "vigor" and finally turned negative with the yen gaining 0.2 percent in currency trading today, fetching 101.52 per dollar.
Exporters are often reliant on a weaker yen to boost overseas profits when repatriated, traded lower, with Nissan Motor skidding down 0.6 percent to 992 yen, while consumer electronics maker Panasonic retreated 0.8 percent to 1,208 yen.
Toshiba dropped 2.3 percent to 472 yen, but Sharp bucked the downward trend, rising 1.6 percent to 328 yen, after Merrill Lynch upped its rating on the firm's stock from "under perform" to " neutral."
Japan's brokerages were the heaviest drag on the market today, with Nomura Holdings down 1.0 percent to 665 yen, while Daiwa Securities Group fell 1.2 percent, to close the day at 846 yen.
Takata, an automotive safety parts maker, also came under pressure, tumbling 4.2 percent to 1,959 yen, following BMW's announcement a day earlier that it would issue a global recall for around 1.6 million of the German automaker's vehicles, owing to the beleaguered Takata's faulty airbags.
Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., a maker of electric wires and cables, found favor Thursday, however, climbing 1.2 percent to 1,497 yen, after the firm announced it had increased its full-year profit forecast by 59 percent to 111 billion yen.
Telecommunications operator KDDI lost 0.11 percent to 6,229 yen, erasing earlier gains, having announced that along with Sumitomo it had inked a deal to develop services in Myanmar, through its state run telecommunications outfit Myanmar Posts & Telecommunications.
East Japan Railway was also in the spotlight, gaining 1.9 percent to 8,261 yen, following media reports that the railway operator in conjunction with the city government and other stakeholders, will develop the area around Shinagawa station, one of Tokyo's biggest railway hubs.
Japanese Petroleum & Metals conglomerate, JX Holdings, gained 0. 56 percent to 542 yen, after announcing it plans to launch a new subsidiary to construct hydrogen stations to support Japanese fuel cell vehicles.
Trading volume on Thursday rose to 2.28 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Wednesday's volume of 1.84 billion shares, with declining issues outnumbering advancing ones by 903 to 772.