Singapore Markets closed

Tokyo stocks end flat in midst of corporate results season

Tokyo stocks closed flat Monday in sluggish trading as investors stayed on the sidelines in the middle of corporate results season, while exporters faced moderate pressure on a stronger yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.03 percent or 5.62 points to 22,467.16 but the broader Topix index was up 0.09 percent or 1.66 points at 1,773.18.

"It's hard for many investors to take positions ahead of the peak of the corporate result season," said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

"Investors are also cautious about a possible rebound of the yen following the recent declines," Sato told AFP.

The dollar was trading at 109.14 yen, slightly up from 109.08 yen in New York Friday afternoon but down from 109.81 yen on Wednesday before Tokyo closed for public holidays.

Wall Street stocks powered higher Friday after closely watched US payrolls data showed lower-than-expected job creation in April, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000.

Worries that caused sell-offs in February and March have subdued, Rakuten Securities chief strategist Masayuki Kubota said, referring to factors including US inflation fears, the yen's appreciation, worries about North Korea, and US-China trade friction.

"Considering uncertainty still lingers, however, it is getting difficult to keep chasing higher prices," he said in a commentary.

"Both the Nikkei and New York Dow could be contained in boxed ranges for the next two to three months" before a new trend emerges, he said.

SoftBank Group was down 0.34 percent at 8,461 yen after the Financial Times reported that negotiations for the Japanese group to obtain an equity share in reinsurance firm Swiss Re were "close to collapse".

Nissan fell 0.08 percent to 1,126.5 yen and Honda lost 0.60 percent to 3,619 yen, with Panasonic down 0.90 percent at 1,590.5 yen.

Fujifilm, which plunged more than five percent on Wednesday last week before Tokyo closed for holidays, gained 0.84 percent to 4,158 yen as investors watched developments in its plans to merge operations with US giant Xerox.

The plan is fiercely opposed by several key activist shareholders who have filed a suit over the bid.