Tokyo: Japanese share prices ended little changed on 24 June as investors took to the sidelines ahead of an interest rate meeting at the US Federal Reserve.
The benchmark Nikkei-225 index slipped 7.91 points or 0.06% to end at 13,849.56. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares edged up 1.26 points or 0.09% to 1,349.19.
“It seems like only short-term investors are trading,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Shinko Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“They buy futures when the dollar strengthens against the yen slightly, and sell them when the dollar moves the other way,” Miura added.
“Market players were looking ahead to the Fed’s two-day meeting at which US interest rates are expected to be left unchanged at 2%,” dealers said.
Investors will be focusing on the Fed’s post-meeting statement for clues on prospects for higher US interest rates that could pressure Wall Street shares.
“Although we may not get a big surprise out of the meeting, everyone is watching how the Fed is trying to tackle high crude prices and inflationary risks,” said JPMorgan market strategist Masaru Ohnishi.
“Until then, investors may buy bonds and commodities and money may not come in to the stock market.”
On Wall Street, US stocks finished mixed Monday following heavy losses at the end of last week, with the Dow Jones index slipping 0.33 points.
Steel scrips weak
Steel shares were under pressure after Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto said that it had agreed a near doubling of the price of its iron ore sales to Chinese steel maker Baosteel.
Nippon Steel dropped 2.5% to 585 yen and JFE Holdings lost 2.2% to 5,390 yen. Automakers fared better. Honda Motor added 2.7% to 3,770 yen and Mazda Motor rose 0.9% to 557 yen.
On the foreign exchange market, the dollar firmed to 108.05 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade from 107.87 in New York late on Monday. The euro rose to 167.68.