Japan’s Nikkei share average remained on track for a weekly rise but slipped on Friday, as investors took profit after recent gains and the yen strengthened on waning expectations of radical monetary policy easing from the Bank of Japan.The Nikkei stock index was down 0.9 percent at 16,660.01, pulling away from the previous session’s seven-week highs intraday but still poised to gain about 1 percent for the week.
The broader Topix was down 0.9 percent at 1,328.47, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also fell 0.9 percent to 11,923.41.
In the previous week, the Nikkei had soared 9.2 percent to log its biggest weekly gain since December 2009, helped by fresh record highs on Wall Street as well as hopes that the Bank of Japan might be gearing up to take drastic easing action at its July 28-29 policy meeting.
But Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s remarks in a BBC Radio 4 interview quashed expectations that Japan might be preparing to take radical “helicopter money” economic stimulus steps, under which the central bank would finance government budgets to fight deflation.
Kuroda’s comments sent the yen to six-week lows against major counterparts, and gave investors a reason to sell shares.
“After the market’s recent strong gains, there seems to be some profit-taking,” said Yasuo Sakuma, portfolio manager at Bayview Asset Management.
Investors also awaited word on a massive spending package the Japanese government is now compiling, said to be worth about $190 billion. That amount was about double the size initially floated, though actual public spending would be far less than the headline number suggests.
“The market rallied impressively last week for a number of different reasons,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse, and it was “understandable that it would wind back.”
Worries about a stronger yen contributed to about four in 10 Japanese manufacturers saying they might cut their annual earnings forecasts, with concerns particularly acute at electronics and transportation-related firms, according to a Reuters poll on Friday.
On the brighter side, shares of Nintendo rose 4.9 percent, erasing earlier losses after the launch of the company’s blockbuster mobile phone game Pokemon GO in Japan on Friday morning.
Shares in McDonald’s Japan, which will collaborate on the game, rose 7 percent.