Tokyo stocks down, Fed meeting in focus

 14 Mar 2017 - 10:28

Tokyo stocks down, Fed meeting in focus
File Photo: AFP.


Tokyo: Tokyo stocks slipped from a 15-month high on Tuesday with investors taking their cash off the table ahead of a key US central bank meeting.

The decline comes after global markets broadly rose a day earlier as investors priced in the near-certainty of a Federal Reserve interest rate rise on Wednesday following last week's forecast-busting US jobs report.

But the enthusiasm was offset by uncertainty surrounding a general election in the Netherlands and the shape of Britain's exit from the EU.

A Bank of Japan meeting this week is also in focus. 

"Investors stepped aside ahead of the big event," Daisuke Uno, chief market strategist of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, told AFP, referring to the Fed's two-day policy meeting that starts Tuesday.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.12 percent, or 24.25 points, to finish at 19,609.50, while the Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.16 percent, or 2.50 points, to 1,574.90.

Toshiba rose 0.46 percent to 215.9 yen, after tumbling nearly 9 percent earlier in the day as the troubled industrial giant delayed announcing its financial results for a second time, fuelling fears it could be delisted from Japan's premier bourse.

But regulators gave Toshiba the green light to push back the deadline, easing concerns about an embarrassing exit from the market for one of Japan's best-known firms.

The crisis comes less than two years after Toshiba was hammered by a huge profit-padding scandal that badly damaged its reputation.

Investors "will be watching how the group plans to turn itself around and how quickly. They've been in a mess for years now so they need to act quickly", Mari Iwashita, chief market strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told AFP.

In other trading, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries jumped 4.90 percent to 470.8 yen.

An arbitration court of the International Chamber of Commerce ruled the Japanese firm was on the hook to pay $125 million over problems with steam generators it supplied to a nuclear plant in California -- much less than the $7.5 billion in damages the buyer had originally sought.

Major exporters lost ground, with Panasonic declining 1.58 percent to 1,272 yen and Toyota slipping 1.16 percent to 6,454 yen while Nissan fell 0.12 percent to close at 1,156 yen.

On forex markets, the dollar edged up to 114.89 yen from 114.84 yen in New York on Monday.