Japan’s Nikkei share average edged down in choppy trade on Wednesday morning as ex-dividend share price adjustments pressured the market and offset positive sentiment from gains in Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei dropped 0.2 percent to 19,165.66 in midmorning trade after opening a tad higher.
About 130 points are cut from the Nikkei by the ex-dividend price adjustment, according to market participants. Stocks which were bought ex-dividend on Tuesday by investors hunting for higher yields languished, with Takeda Pharmaceutical stumbling 2.3 percent and Japan Tobacco Inc falling 0.7 percent. Exporters and banking stocks lost ground, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 1.4 percent, Nissan Motor Co shedding 2.2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group declining 1.3 percent.
US stocks ended sharply higher overnight helped by data showing U.S. consumer confidence had soared to a more than 16-year high.
“The market takes heart from strong U.S. economic data, and sentiment in the overall market is not bad,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities, adding that without the ex-dividend price adjustments, the Nikkei would have been solid.
Other market participants said that with the uncertainty over U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to push through his planned tax cuts and stimulus policies, investors remain cautious about taking large positions in the near term.
The utility sector outperformed, rising 2.3 percent and being the best sectoral performer on the board after Kansai Electric Power jumped 9 percent after a Japanese high court on Tuesday overturned a lower court’s order to shut two reactors operated by the company.
The broader Topix shed 0.1 percent to 1,543.73 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to 13,805.71.