Tokyo stocks edge down before Fed meeting

An electronic stock board reflects pedestrians outside a securities firm in Tokyo. (Bloomberg pic)

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks inched down Tuesday on profit-taking, as investors braced for a policy meeting by the US Federal Reserve.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.08%, or 17.65 points, to close at 21,566.85 while the broader Topix index was down 0.21%, or 3.45 points, at 1,610.23.

Shares remained under moderate pressure throughout the session as investors cashed in on recent gains, brokers said.

“Trading was thin as a wait-and-see mood grew ahead of the FOMC (Federal Reserve) meeting,” said Shinichi Yamamoto, broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.

“Players in Japan, in particular, did not want to take risks as Tokyo markets will be closed” on Thursday for a national holiday, Yamamoto told AFP.

The Fed will have an opportunity to weigh in on Wednesday as it wraps up the meeting that is expected to keep interest rates unchanged and could signal fewer rate increases in 2019.

The dollar was changing hands at 111.26 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 111.41 yen in New York Monday afternoon.

In Tokyo, utilities fell on expectations that higher oil prices could increase costs. Tokyo Electric Power lost 2.11% to 693 yen and Tokyo Gas dropped 1.25% to 3,080 yen.

Nintendo fell 1.65% to 31,490 yen with Sony down 0.44% at 5,124 yen.