Nikkei flat after hitting 2-year highs; market cautious ahead of US jobs data

Reuters Tokyo | Updated on January 08, 2018

Japan's Nikkei share average was nearly flat on Thursday morning after hitting fresh two-year highs in the previous session, while investors await major economic data such as US jobs report due later this week.

The Nikkei was flat at 20,624.61 in midmorning trade after opening a tad higher. On Wednesday, the index rose to 20,689.08, its highest level since August 2015.

“The market is focused on various upcoming events and there are risks here and there so investors are playing it safe after the market staged a rally recently,” said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief executive of Investrust. “There is also a risk of provocation from North Korea ahead of October 10.”

'Possible provocation from N. Korea'

Last Friday, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera had expressed concerns about more possible provocation from North Korea on October 10, when Japan commences its lower house election campaigns, a date that coincides with one of the North's main anniversaries.

The day's losers included financial stocks, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings falling 1.8 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Tech shares and electric parts makers also languished, with Advantest Corp dropping 1.0 per cent and Murata Manufacturing Co shedding 1.0 per cent, while TDK Corp declining 0.7 per cent.

Bucking the weakness, Aeon Co surged 1.6 per cent after Japan's largest retailer by sales said it plans further price cuts, as restructuring at its struggling general merchandising stores helped drive first half profits to an 11-year high.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) soared 2.2 per cent after the company received an initial safety approval from Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to restart two reactors at the world's biggest nuclear power plant.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.1 per cent to 1,683.16.

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Published on October 05, 2017
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