Tokyo: Japanese shares fell on 14 July as investors remained skeptical over the health of the US financial sector despite the US Federal Reserve’s steps to help troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 29.53 points, or 0.23%, to close at 13,010.16.
“While the index closed higher in the morning session, gains were quickly wiped out due to caution over the US financial sector,” said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Shinko Securities Co. Ltd.
On 13 July, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced steps to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose shares have plunged as losses from their mortgage holdings threatened their financial survival.
“Despite the announcement, sentiment turned sluggish here as investors awaited to see how Wall Street would react to the move today,” Miura said, adding lingering fears over a slump in the global economy also pressured the market.
Japan’s top automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., fell 1.8% to 4,800 yen; its rival Honda Motor Co. lost 1.9% to 3,530 yen.
Sony Corp. shed 0.7% to 4,320 yen and Softbank Corp., Japan’s No. 3 mobile phone company, declined 3.2% to 1,896 yen. Softbank won the coveted right to sell Apple Inc.’s iPhone in Japan as the global rollout of the iPhone kicked off Friday in Asia.
Some finance firms rose. Banking giant Mizuho Financial Group Inc. gained 0.6% to 538,000 yen.
The Topix index of all Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section issues edged down 5.19 points, or 0.4%, to 1,280.72.