Tokyo: Japanese share prices were slightly weaker at the end of morning trade on Wednesday, 5 September, as jitters about the impact of the US housing woes kept investors cautious, dealers said.
They said an early rally sparked by overnight gains on Wall Street soon faded as the market waited nervously for upcoming US data that should shed light on the impact of recent credit market turmoil on the overall economy.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s key Nikkei-225 index was down 11.92 points or 0.07% at 16,408.55 by the lunch break.
The broader TOPIX index of all first-section shares dropped 8.67 points or 0.54 % to 1,588.07.
Decliners beat gainers 1,281 to 314 on the TSE’s first section, with 113 issues unchanged.
Turnover was 763 million shares, up from 731 million on Tuesday morning.
Worries that the subprime troubles will hurt the broader US economy are making investors quick to pocket profits on any market gains, dealers said.
Data overnight showed a slowdown in US manufacturing growth in August and construction spending in July.
“Market players initially reacted to overnight gains in US stocks and a softer yen, but are still seeking clearer signs of how the subprime problems will affect the US economy,” said Hiroichi Nishi, an equities information manager at Nikko Cordial Securities.
In particular, they are waiting for further key US data due this week, including key August employment numbers on Friday.
A strong performance by Sony limited the market’s losses. Shares in the electronics giant rose 230 yen or 4.1% to 5,840 after the group said it would list its financial arm next month in hopes of raising $3 billion to reinvest in its core electronics business.
Elsewhere in the technology sector, Toshiba rose 19 yen or 1.8% to 1,068 and Hitachi gained four yen or 0.5% to 748. Matsushita Electric Industrial rose 30 yen or 1.5% to 2,055.
Among automakers, Nissan Motor rose 22 yen or 2% to 1,127 after posting a 7.9% rise in US car sales in August from a year earlier.
Honda Motor rose 30 yen or 0.8 percent at 3,890 after reporting an 11.7% rise in car sales last month in the US.
Toyota Motor, which saw a 2.8 percent drop in vehicle sales in the US in August, slipped 10 yen or 0.2% to 6,730.