Japan’s Nikkei share average erased early modest gains on Thursday and edged down, as a stronger yen took its toll on market sentiment. The Nikkei was down 0.1 percent at 20,118.25 at the end of morning trade, extending Wednesday’s decline and moving further away from Tuesday’s session high of 20,318.11 – its loftiest level since August 2015. The dollar skidded 0.4 percent against the yen to 110.96. “The Nikkei is heavy, as some investors continue to take profits on its recent rise and the yen strengthens,” said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
“Some individual shares are rising on specific news, but overall, there are no big buying incentive factors,” he said. On Wall Street overnight, U.S. shares put in a mixed performance, with only the Nasdaq Composite marking a gain. Satori Electric Co shares rose 2.9 percent after earlier touching their highest since November 2015. The company on Wednesday said it expected to post a net profit of 220 million yen ($1.98 mln) for its fiscal year through May 31, compared with its previous estimate of no profit.
Shares in Takata Corp changed hands for the first time since sources said last week that the struggling airbag maker was preparing to file for bankruptcy, falling 51.6 percent. The stock has closed down by its daily limit each day this week after being untraded during the day – a forced close in accordance with Tokyo Stock Exchange rules. It has lost about 75 percent of its value since Friday.
“Obviously, with Takata, someone is now seeing some kind of trading value there,” said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading Ltd. “But ultimately, there needs to be more clarity in quantifying the ultimate liability of this company, because who knows what kind of litigation or claims it will face down the line.”
Shares of Toshiba Corp pared losses but fell 0.1 percent, as the company aims to seal a deal worth some $18 billion by next week for the sale of its chip business needed to cover massive losses. Toshiba has chosen a consortium of Bain Capital and Japanese government investors as the preferred bidder.
The mining sector fell 1.6 percent. While oil prices steadied in Asian trade after a recent spate of weakness, investors are looking for more signs that output cuts by OPEC and some other producers are ending a three-year glut. The broader Topix was slightly lower on the day at 1,611.14 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was down 0.1 percent at 14,322.74.