Tuesday, February 27

Japan’s Nikkei retreats from 10-week high as traders book profits

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei index fell on Wednesday, sinking from a 10-week high hit in the previous session, as traders locked in profits heading into the new fiscal year after snapping up shares on Tuesday to secure dividend payments.

The Nikkei share average slumped 1.27% to 27,893.92 as of the midday break. Tuesday’s close at 28,252.42 was the highest since Jan. 18 and came on the final day to secure dividend allotments. The benchmark had climbed 14.3% from a 16-month trough on March 9.

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Wednesday’s decline was also driven by continued high oil prices, knocking investor sentiment in a country dependent on imported commodities.

Of the Nikkei’s 225 component stocks, 189 fell, while 32 rose and four were flat.

The broader Topix dropped 1.55%.

“There’s the sense that the rally is taking a break, and it comes as we head toward earnings season. So, it’s hard to buy stocks aggressively from here,” said a trader at a domestic securities firm.

Among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 subsectors, shippers faired the worst, diving 8.82% following a rally the previous session. More optimism on the outlook for the conflict in Ukraine raised expectations that tight container demand could be due to ease.

Nippon Yusen was the Nikkei’s biggest percentage decliner, tumbling 11.25%.

Iron and steel was the TSE’s second-worst subsector with a 4.85% slide, followed by a 4.13% slump for oil and coal products.

Among other notable losers, Toyota Motor slid 1.55%, Uniqlo store operator Fast Retailing lost 0.76% and Sony fell 0.77%.

Nintendo plunged 5.4% after saying it was pushing back the release of the hotly awaited sequel to “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” to spring 2023 from this year’s planned debut. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; editing by Uttaresh.V)