Tokyo: Japan’s Nikkei average fell 0.5% on Thursday, 1 May, with bank shares such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and other recent gainers coming under pressure as investors lightened positions ahead of a wave of earnings announcements and a Golden Week holiday.
As of 0431 GMT, the Nikkei average was down 67.52 points at 13,782.67. It has gained about 18% since hitting a low for the year on 17 March.
In April, the benchmark gained 10.6%, the biggest monthly percentage gain since July 1995, when it jumped 14.9%.
The broader TOPIX index shed 0.8% or 10.21 points on Thursday to 1,348.44.
Kirin Holdings Co Ltd fell more than 6% after the brewer reported a 46% decline in its quarterly operating profit and on a brokerage downgrade, while Komatsu Ltd rose after the earth-moving equipment maker forecast 5% profit growth this year on strong demand for construction in China.
But trade was slow on Thursday as most major Asian markets, except for Japan and Australia, were closed for 1 May Labour Day holidays and ahead of more US manufacturing data that lands before the jobs report on Friday.
“Investors can’t really move as the big event — the Fed meeting — is over and until they see the US market moves after the holiday here and a series of upcoming important earnings results,” said Naoki Koga, a senior fund manager at Toyota Asset Management.
He said the market will likely pay particular attention to earnings by blue-chip stocks such as Sony Corp and Toyota Motor Corp as the health of the US and Japanese economies would be reflected in their outlooks.
“For now, it looks like investors simply took profit in banks and property firms that had led a rebound since the market hit bottom on 17 March,” Koga said.
Japanese markets will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for the Golden Week holiday.