TOKYO: Tokyo stocks slipped 0.18 percent Monday as a strong yen offset another record-setting close on Wall Street, while the Japanese earnings season kicks into high gear.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 36.72 points to 19,983.32, less than a week after the benchmark index closed above the psychologically important 20,000 level for the first time in 15 years.
The broader Topix index of all first-section shares edged up 0.01 percent, or 0.23 points, to 1,619.07.
Several hundred Japanese companies are set to report earnings this week, including Sony, Honda, Panasonic and Japan Airlines, with the yen’s sharp decline expected to translate into upbeat fiscal-year results for many export-oriented firms.
But the yen picked up Monday after a batch of weak data fueled doubts about a mid-year US interest rate rise.
The dollar bought 118.96 yen, against 118.99 yen in New York Friday and well off the 119.56 yen earlier Friday in Asia.
Markets are keen to see what the Federal Reserve — which starts a two-day meeting Tuesday — says about the timing of a rate rise after a US government report on durable goods orders raised more questions about the state of the world’s top economy.
While the headline number rose 4.0 percent in March that was driven by jumps in civilian and military aircraft as well as autos; without them orders fell 0.2 percent.
Also this week Japan’s central bank holds a one-day meeting but policymakers are expected to stand pat on fresh measures, despite signs of weakness in the country’s economy
“This week we have both the US and Japanese monetary policy meetings, so it’ll be difficult to take any definitive position before that,” Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities, told Bloomberg News.