Tokyo stocks declined modestly Wednesday as light, holiday-thinned volume continued for the third straight session, resulting in volatile movements in select shares such a Japan Tobacco, Sharp, and Gree.
The Nikkei Stock Average fell 4.84 points, or 0.5%, to 8925.04 following the prior session’s 0.5% rise.
The Topix index of all the Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section issues also lost 2.21 points, or 0.3%, to 747.32, with 23 of 33 subindexes ending in negative territory.
Trading volume totaled just 1.5 billion shares, while trading value came to Y847 billion.
The major indices began on a slightly bullish note, following a stronger dollar, better-than-expected GDP figures from Germany and France, and strong July US retail sales data. The positive momentum dissipated midway through the morning, however.
The market remains skeptical that such data will exert a lasting effect on equities prices, said Naoki Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
Japan Tobacco was the single heaviest drag on the Nikkei, falling 4.8% at Y2,439 after the firm said Wednesday it was disappointed with the ruling by an Australian court upholding new tobacco plain-packaging laws.
Shares of embattled Sharp faced another volatile session, plunging to a fresh multi-decade low on heavy volume en route to a loss of 12% at Y169 after a pair of major brokerage actions. Deutsche Securities downgraded Sharp to Sell from Hold while slashing its target price to Y110 from Y365. Goldman Sachs also cut its target to Y190 from Y260. Both houses signaled caution until Sharp’s means of procuring capital become clear. Shares have now lost 37% thus far in August and 75% year-to-date.
Social networking and gaming site operator Gree Inc. fell 7.3% at Y1,350 after announcing a fiscal fourth-quarter operating profit fall of 23% on quarter due to fewer new titles as it focuses on global deployment and self-regulation measures.
Suzuki Motor added 0.5% at Y1,507 after its Indian unit, Maruti Suzuki India, said it will reopen a factory in northern India sometime next week. The facility had been shuttered since July 18 due to riots.