TOKYO – Sin Tokyo and Shanghai lost ground Monday in quiet trading with most of the region’s other key markets closed for public holidays.
Both Japan and China declined as investors cashed in on a recent global rally fuelled largely by expectations for the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump. Incentives were few and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which on Friday again fell short of 20,000 points in light trade ahead of the holiday weekend, provided no tailwind.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which was closed on Friday for a national holiday, ended down 0.16 percent, or 31.03 points, to 19,396.64. The broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.37 percent, or 5.68 points, at 1,538.14. “Selective shares are facing profit-taking following the recent gains, as many investors are on the sidelines in a holiday mood, looking to fresh factors to trade,” said Shinichi Yamamoto, broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.
Japan’s banks remained under selling pressure on negative news in the sector from overseas. Italy on Friday approved a state-funded rescue of the world’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse agreed to pay a total of almost $12.5 billion to settle disputes over the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the global financial crisis.
Japan’s MUFG dropped 1.22 percent with its rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group was down 0.84 percent. “There are very few market participants around at the end of the year, and with some short-term overbuying, Japanese stocks may keep adjusting their levels,” Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co, told Bloomberg. But Nintendo was up 4.06 percent to 24,555 yen after the company’s president told a Japanese newspaper it plans to release at least three game apps for smartphones a year.
Chinese stocks fell on Monday morning, driven by a decline in commodity shares affected by a plunge in futures prices, dealers said. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.78 percent, or 24.33 points, to 3,085.82 by the break. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, lost 0.82 percent, or 16.12 points, to 1,954.94.
“The undercurrent is still a strong dollar, but there was an adjustment phase in the past few days after a surge on expectations for Mr Trump,” Marito Ueda, senior dealer at FX Prime, told AFP. Sentiment favouring a strong dollar “will likely continue until Mr Trump actually takes office in January and maybe during the so-called ‘honeymoon period’, or 100 initial days of his government, unless some geopolitical risks emerge,” Ueda added.The greenback traded at 117.10 yen, down from 117.31 yen on Friday in New York. The euro, meanwhile, rose slightly, trading at $1.0464 from $1.0454 on Friday.