Singapore markets closed

Tokyo stocks close lower on profit-taking

Tokyo stocks closed lower Tuesday on profit-taking following recent gains, with investors cautiously watching for economic restarts after business shutdowns forced by the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.12 percent, or 24.18 points, to 20,366.48, while the broader Topix index was down 0.26 percent, or 3.90 points, at 1,476.72.

Tokyo shares opened marginally higher "on the hopes that the state of emergency will be lifted gradually" in Japan, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

But they closed in negative territory as investors cashed in on recent gains, said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

"The market remains nervous about external factors", led by virus-related negative news, Horiuchi told AFP.

The dollar was trading at 107.42 yen, compared with 107.65 yen in New York Monday afternoon and the 106 range seen a day earlier.

Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities, said it was unsurprising that stocks had started factoring-in the global economy's return to normal in six to 12 months.

"But I think we should be wary about the pace of the recent rise being too fast," he said in a commentary.

"It is better to brace for another bout of dips in summer as a second wave of infections is possible after economic restarts in the United States and Europe."

Japan has extended a state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of May, but a review of the decision will be held on Thursday.

Local reports say the government could lift the measures in a large part of the country, though not for Tokyo.

Toyota dropped 1.96 percent to 6,527 yen after the auto giant said it forecast a sharp drop in sales and operating profit for the current fiscal year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Honda tumbled 3.48 percent to 2,523 yen, and following the closing bell the firm said its full-year net profit had fallen sharply, also hit by the outbreak.

Nintendo, however, jumped 2.77 percent to 44,850 yen, with Sony up 0.16 percent at 7,071 yen.