Tokyo’s Nikkei index ends flat as investors seek fresh clues

A pedestrian walks past a stock indicator board showing the share price of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on December 18, 2018. (AFP pic)

TOKYO: Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index ended flat on Friday as investors sought fresh trading clues and watched individual corporate earnings reports.

The Nikkei 225 index closed up just 0.07% or 14.90 points at 20,788.39, while the broader Topix index was down 0.18% or 2.86 points at 1,564.63.

The twin indexes were trading in positive territory in early trade but lost steam later, with some analysts also pointing to a negative impact from a weak Chinese manufacturing data released during Tokyo trading time.

“Following rallies on Thursday after the US Fed signalled a dovish view on rate hikes, investors are seeking fresh clues,” Hiroaki Hiwata, strategist at Toyo Securities, told AFP.

“Having said that, it is increasingly difficult for investors to buy as the Nikkei index is approaching the 21,000 mark” which is considered psychologically important, he said.

Investors are watching individual shares as company earnings are being released, he also added.

The dollar fetched 108.86 yen in Asian trade, against 108.88 yen in New York late Thursday.

In Tokyo, high-tech shares were higher, with Sharp surging 10.32% to 1,272 yen while Murata Mfg advancing 8.46% to 16,725 yen after it said its net profit for the nine months to December jumped nearly 40%.

Fanuc gained 1.98% to 18,725 yen despite the industrial robot manufacturer revising down its full-year earnings forecasts.

Brokerage giant Nomura closed down 4.02% at 4,241 yen after it posted a net loss for the nine months to December.

Nintendo dived 9.19% to 30,720 yen despite its net profit jumping nearly a quarter for the nine months to December.

The game giant lowered its Switch game console sales forecast for full year to 17 million units from 20 million units and pushed back the release date of Mario Kart smartphone game.