Tokyo: Japanese share prices closed down 1.04% Thursday amid caution ahead of the release of US jobs data, with losses in commodity shares and shipping companies dragging down the index, dealers said.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index lost 131.93 points to close at 12,557.66. The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 18.90 points or 1.55% to close at 1,201.65.
“The Nikkei may fall below 12,500 in the near future as investors test the waters to see how far the headline index can drop,” traders said.
“Weakness in the market will probably drag until mid-September,” Tomochika Kitaoka, strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“For the immediate term, investors may stay cautious until the release of US jobs data on Friday,” he added.
Once the data is released, players are likely to turn their focus on quarterly earnings from US financial institutions, as the sector suffers low profits due to the general downturn in the credit cycle and housing slump.
Trading houses tumbled on worries that a slowdown in commodity demand and falling crude prices may hurt their bottom lines.
Mitsui and Co. fell 5.84% to 1,563 yen while rival Mitsubishi Corp. lost 5.19% to 2,555 yen.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor rose 3.12% to 3,640 after an executive said the company aims to meet a goal of selling 700,000 vehicles annually in Japan within three years.
The company also said it is on track to meet its domestic sales projection of 640,000 vehicles for the current fiscal year through March.