Japan’s Nikkei share average edged down on Wednesday morning after a slightly stronger yen sapped risk appetite, while mining stocks underperformed on the back of weaker oil prices. The Nikkei fell 0.1 percent to 20,209.00 in midmorning trade, moving away from near two-year highs marked the previous day. Wall Street stocks dropped overnight after energy shares lost ground on falling oil prices, which also hurt sentiment in Asian trade. The mining sector was the worst sectoral performer on the board, tumbling 1.6 percent after oil prices fell about 2 percent on news of increases in supply by several key producers.
“A stronger yen combined with a fall in oil prices had made investors stay on the sidelines,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. The dollar was down 0.1 percent at 111.320 yen, off a near one-month peak of 111.790 touched on Tuesday. Inpex Corp stumbled 1.8 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co dropped 1.7 percent.
Conversely, cheaper oil prices helped sentiment in airline shares as fuel charges are a major cost component for operators. Japan Airlines rose 0.6 percent while ANA Holdings Inc gained 0.7 percent. Banking stocks took a breather after being bought recently. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell 1.2 percent.
Toshiba Corp was volatile, moving in and out of the red and was last down 1.0 percent in midmorning after sources said the firm will pick a Japanese government-led group of Japanese, U.S. and South Korean firms and funds to buy its chip business.
Takata Corp remains untraded with a glut of sell orders and is indicated to fall to a daily limit low of 244 yen at the market close. Sources said last Friday that the maker of defective air bag inflators is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as this week. The stock has nosedived 33 percent in the past three days. The broader Topix fell 0.2 percent to 1,614.88.