Roundup: Tokyo stocks close lower on profit-taking as cautious investors eye earnings


File photo: AFP

TOKYO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks closed lower Monday, as investors secured gains following the market's rise late last week, amid ongoing concerns about the downside effects the COVID-19 is having on businesses as earnings season here is set to swing into gear.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 228.14 points, or 1.15 percent, from Friday to close the day at 19,669.12.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, dropped 10.13 points, or 0.70 percent, to finish at 1,432.41.

Trading got off to a cautious start as investors weighed taking profits as well as balancing this with earning season set to swing into gear in Japan, with upcoming corporate results likely to show the extent to which businesses here have been affected by the coronavirus, local brokers said.

They added that some investors took a wait-and-see approach ahead of bellwether firms like industrial robotics maker Fanuc, Canon, and chip testing equipment maker Advantest, all set to report their earnings later this week.

Such firms are likely to provide an indication as to how hard Japanese first have been hit by the negative effects of the global pandemic, market strategists here said,

"Many companies have suffered a halt in operations and a drop in demand due to the virus spread. The market focus is on how poor their earnings forecasts will be for the current fiscal year starting April," Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., was quoted as saying.

Others analysts warned however that some companies may opt not to release their earnings due to the virus-linked constraints.

"A lot of companies are simply going to forego giving forecasts due to the coronavirus, and a lot of investors are prepared to accept that," Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities, said.

Miura's point was highlighted by some construction firms here on Friday saying they will suspend operations throughout Japan, owing to the governments expanded state of emergency though early May.

As a result, construction firms were among the day's notable decliners, including Taisei dropping 1.9 percent, Obayashi losing 1.4 percent and Kajima closing the day 2.0 percent lower.

By the close of play, precision instrument, insurance and construction-linked issues comprised those that declined the most by the morning break.

On the main section on Monday, 1.065 billion shares changed hands, dropping from Friday's volume of 1.409 billion shares.

The turnover on the first trading day of the week came to 1.965 trillion yen (18.24 billion U.S. dollars).