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Markets

Tokyo shares range-bound, weighed down by virus, Brexit woes

  • Toyota gave up earlier gains and fell 0.67 percent to 7,725, as did SoftBank Group, which lost 1.12 percent to 8,194 yen.
Published December 23, 2020

TOKYO: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index hovered in a narrow range Wednesday morning as investors fretted over a new coronavirus strain, worrying US data and uncertainty over Brexit talks.

The market dipped briefly on news US President Donald Trump had slammed a stimulus bill while stopping short of refusing to sign it.

But the Nikkei 225 index recovered and was up 0.05 percent, or 12.76 points, to 26,449.15 in early trade.

The broader Topix index slipped 0.07 percent, or 1.28 points, at 1,759.84.

At the open, the Tokyo market took cues from the Nasdaq, which marked another record close, encouraging Tokyo players to start the day by issuing buy orders.

But the Dow retreated on profit taking, following a US political deal over a new stimulus as well as lingering worries about the virus's economic impact.

The dollar stood at 103.53, nearly flat from 103.60 yen in New York Monday.

The market was seen staying within the current range, although the strength of the Nasdaq was seen providing support for the Nikkei index in early trade, SBI Securities said in a note.

"The Tokyo market may gain in early trade before becoming locked in a range," SBI said.

But the market lacked fresh news, and profit taking weighed on the market, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

"After the initial round of buying, the market was left with no fresh cues and trading lost a sense of direction," Okasan said. Technical charts also illuminated downside risks for the Tokyo market, the brokerage said.

"Concerns are increasing about the outlook of Japanese shares as many investors become wary about the general economy in relation to the spread of the new variant of the virus that was found in the UK," Okasan said.

Many global investors are also leaving the market for holidays, locking the Tokyo market in the current range, it said.

Many major shares gave up early gains and slipped into red.

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing fell 0.18 percent to 84,270 yen.

Toyota gave up earlier gains and fell 0.67 percent to 7,725, as did SoftBank Group, which lost 1.12 percent to 8,194 yen.

Airlines managed to pull themselves above the clouds, with Japan Airlines rising 0.21 percent to 1,870 yen, while ANA Holdings added 0.67 percent to 2,165.5 yen.

Oriental Land, which operates Tokyo Disney Resort, rose 2.15 percent to 16,600.

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