Tokyo shares opened slightly softer Tuesday, as players searched for fresh incentives and waited for foreign markets to reopen after Christmas holiday breaks.
The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.44 percent or 37.10 points to 8,442.24 in early trade. The Topix of all first section shares fell 0.39 percent or 2.81 points to 723.63.
Tokyo shares were expected to stay within a tight range amid dearth of fresh news, with major European and US markets closed Monday for the Christmas holiday. The London bourse will remain closed on Tuesday.
Once international investors return to the market, they will focus on US economic data, including the Case-Shiller home price index to be released later in the day, said Yumi Nishimura, senior market analyst at Daiwa Securities.
"US housing data have been firm lately," she told Dow Jones Newswires.
"More solid data will likely push the Nikkei above 8,500," she said.
The forex market was also quiet with the dollar standing at 78.00 yen, basically unchanged from 77.99 yen in Tokyo Monday.
The euro was also flat at $1.3046 and 101.77 yen, compared with $1.3059 and 101.88 yen in Tokyo.