Japanese shares down 0.21% by lunch

Japanese shares down 0.21% by lunch


Tokyo: Japanese share prices dropped 0.21% in morning trade Monday, 17 December, following Wall Street falls on concern that resurgent inflation may limit the scope for further US interest rate cuts, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main Nikkei-225 index fell 32.36 points to 15,482.15 by the lunch break.

The Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 4.80 points or 0.32% to 1,496.45.

Decliners outnumbered gainers 1,192 to 417, with 110 issues unchanged.

Turnover declined to 748 million shares from 1.58 billion Friday morning.

Investors took their cue from Wall Street where shares retreated Friday on concern that the Federal Reserve, which has been cutting interest rates in an effort to stave off an economic downturn, may now focus on inflation risks.

US consumer prices jumped 0.8% in November and core prices excluding volatile food and energy costs rose 0.3%, the US government said Friday.

Investors are now awaiting the release of fourth-quarter earning reports later this week by US investment banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns amid fears of further subprime loan-related losses.

“Investors are likely to focus on the quarterly results of US financial institutions as well money markets for any signs of stabilisation following last week’s Fed action," said Mizuho Research Institute analyst Koji Takeuchi.

The Fed last week lowered interest rates and announced a plan with other key central banks to offer loans to pressed lenders around the world, but stock prices have not reacted favourably so far to this credit measure.