TOKYO: Tokyo stocks fell 0.83 percent Friday, ending a three-day winning streak that pushed the benchmark index to a 15-year high, despite a fresh record close for the Nasdaq on Wall Street.
The Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 167.61 points to end at 20,020.04, while the Topix index of all first-section shares eased 0.37 percent, or 6.03 points, to 1,618.84.
Selling picked up in the afternoon as investors booked profits while the stronger yen — a negative for Japanese exporters’ profitability — also held the market back.
The dollar dipped to 119.34 yen from 119.55 yen in New York and 120.10 yen seen earlier Thursday in Asia.
Confidence took a hit as data Thursday showed fresh claims for US unemployment insurance benefits edged up marginally, while sales of new homes plunged in March Weak data out of China and Japan has also reignited concerns about the state of the global economy.
“The PMI (purchasing managers’ index) data out of Japan, China and the US showed that the global economy may be losing some steam,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura.
“Ahead of next week, where we’ll see a proper kick-off to the (Japanese) earnings season and a slew of US economic indicators, investors will be taking a wait-and-see mode,” he told Bloomberg News.
Some of Japan’s largest companies begin reporting earnings from Friday, with Sony, Canon, Japan Airlines, and automaker Honda among the firms announcing their fiscal-year results next week.
On Friday, airline shares retreated a day after crude oil climbed to a four-month high, raising the spectre of increased fuel costs. Japan Airlines dropped 2.93 percent to end at 3,965.0 yen.
Japan’s biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ slipped 0.56 percent to 856.8 yen and Toyota was down 0.76 percent at 8,413.0 yen, but mobile carrier SoftBank ticked up 0.50 percent to 7,747.0 yen.
In New York, the tech-heavy Nasdaq broke its record high set at the peak of the dot-com boom 15 years ago.
The index added 0.42 percent to finish at 5,056.06, finally making up the nearly 4,000 points lost in a stunning crash that followed the previous closing high set on March 10, 2000. The Dow gained 0.11 percent while the S&P added 0.24 percent.