Japan's Nikkei stock index lost 0. 97 percent Thursday as a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting U.S. President Barack Obama concluded with no official agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, with the yen's rise also stifling the market mood.
Traders here said that investors had hoped that a summit Thursday between Abe and Obama would conclude in some firm news about the advancement of the protracted TPP negotiations, as Japan and the U.S. have been in a months-long stalemate over the former' s agricultural tariffs and issues pertaining to the U.S. automotive industry.
But investor optimism over the deal was doused as a joint summit between the two leaders earlier Thursday suggested that while some progress had been made through ministerial and working level talks, a gulf in consensus between Tokyo and Washington still remained.
Ongoing TPP negotiations were expected, but prior media reports that definitive progress had been made raised market expectations. But a lack of progress on the talks following the leaders' summit led to a speculative selloff amid a low turnover, noted Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. strategist Seiji Arai.
Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, concurred stating that there was initial optimism that a broad agreement would be announced at the leaders' summit, considering the distance Obama had traveled to hold talks with Abe.
The two leaders pledged to continue to press forward on the large-scale Pacific free trade pact involving 12 countries, with Obama urging Abe to lean on his constituencies and politically powerful detractors, to view the deal as a win-win for all countries involved, including Japan, as the pact is in line with Abe's own economic reform policies.
The Nikkei Stock Average dropped 141.28 points from Wednesday to close at 14,404.99, while the broader Topix index relinquished 8.91 points, or 0.76 percent, to finish the day at 1,164.90.
With the U.S. dollar trading at 102.35 yen at the close of play, edging lower from Wednesday, exporters lost ground, with Toyota, the world's largest automaker, skidding down 1.4 percent to 5,469 yen, while consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. tumbled 3.1 percent to close at 1,859 yen.
Imaging and optical goods manufacturer Canon Electronics also closed in negative territory Thursday, falling 3.3 percent to 1, 746 yen, following the firm announcing its group net profit in the January-March quarter had dropped 12 percent.
Utility-related stocks also came under pressure, following a key gauge tracking the sector dropping and Kansai Electric plunged 4.2 percent to 884 yen, while Kyushu Electric Power Co. lost 2.9 percent to 1,017 yen, following reports the firm will receive an injection of 100 billion yen from the Development Bank of Japan, a corporation owned by the government and operated through the Finance Ministry.
Fashion retailer Sanyo Shokai was also among the day's notable decliners, with the stock plunging 17 percent to 247 yen, following the Nikkei newspaper saying that Burberry may not renew its licensing deal with the retailer.
Heavily weighted mobile phone and services provider Softbank was the biggest loser on the Nikkei, falling 2 percent to close the day at 7,741 yen.
But JFE Holdings was a bright spot on the market, with Japan's second-largest steelmaker adding 0.3 percent to 1,917 yen, following the firm announcing a group net profit of 102.38 billion yen and a 49 percent gain in its fourth-quarter profits.
Trading volume on Thursday rose to 1.91 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Wednesday's volume of 1. 75 billion shares, with declining issues beating advancing ones by 962 to 692.