TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Tuesday but failed to close above the psychological 27,000 mark, as concerns about the upcoming earnings season, a weaker yen and U.S. monetary policy outlook limited gains.
The Nikkei ended 0.69% higher at 26,985.09, after trading sideways around 27,000 in the afternoon session. In the morning, it dipped as low as 26,777.71, briefly entering negative territory, after opening near the day’s high of 27,100.59.
Of the Nikkei’s 225 components, 190 stocks gained, 33 declined and two closed flat.
Chipmakers were the biggest gainers by index points, with Tokyo Electron climbing 2.29% and Advantest up 3.01%, tracking overnight gains in their U.S. peers.
However, heavyweights Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo clothing chain, and startup investor SoftBank Group suffered losses of 1.72% and 1.88% respectively, dragging down the Nikkei by a combined 61 index points.
The broader Topix rose 0.83% to 1,895.70. Of the 33 Tokyo Stock Exchange sub-sectors, all but four rose.
The Nikkei has spent the last week broadly consolidating just south of 27,000. Earnings season is due to kick off Thursday by machinery maker Nidec Corp, considered a bellwether for the rest of Japan Inc.
The yen’s rapid drop past 128 per dollar to its weakest in about two decades has lent some support to exporters, but it is fuelling worries about inflation and the potential effect on bottom lines.
A crucial rates decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve at the start of next month is also front of mind, with policymakers sounding increasingly hawkish tones of late, and markets braced for a half-point increase.
Amid all that, investors are disposed to take a wait-and-see attitude, said Jun Kitazawa, a strategist at Miki Securities.
“Volatile trading continues, giving little sense of an overall market direction,” he added.