April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s Topix index fell for the first time in five days as property companies and drugmakers led the decline.
The Topix slid 0.2 percent to 1,171.40 at the close in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.7 percent. The measure rose 3.5 percent last week after slumping 6.7 percent the previous period. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed today at 14,512.38. Japan’s trade deficit widened more than expected, data showed today.
Volume for the Topix was 16 percent lower than the 30-day average today before U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week and HSBC Holdings Plc’s and Markit Economics Ltd.’s release their preliminary gauge of China factory activity on April 23. About 160 companies on the Topix are due to post earnings this week.
“We are awaiting many events such as the Obama-Abe meeting, Chinese data and earnings this week,” said Hideyuki Ookoshi, general manager at Chibagin Securities Co. “Investors are thinking the market won’t move much, so they’re holding off on making trades.”
Sun Frontier Fudousan Co. slid 4.9 percent to 1,164 yen as developers fell the most among the Topix’s 33 industry groups. Ono Pharmaceutical Co. dropped 2.9 percent to 8,170 yen, leading the sector lower. Aiful Corp. and Aplus Financial Co. each soared at least 11 percent on a report Japan’s ruling party is considering easing lending restrictions on consumer-finance businesses.
The Topix fell 10 percent this year, the biggest slump among major developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. The gauge traded at 1.15 times book value as of today, compared with 2.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 and 1.87 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index on April 17.
The yen slid 0.1 percent to 102.53 per dollar today after falling 0.8 percent last week. Japan’s trade deficit for March widened more than expected, data showed today.
Yasuhiro Yonezawa, a professor at Waseda University’s graduate school of finance, is expected to be chosen to lead the investment committee of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the Nikkei newspaper reported on April 19 without attribution. Yonezawa sat on an expert panel that last year urged an overhaul of the domestic bond-focused fund.
Abe sent an offering to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, following the visits this month of two cabinet ministers to the site that honors Japan’s war dead, including World War II criminals. Such observances risk escalating tensions with neighboring nations including China and South Korea.
The offering will have no impact on the prime minister’s meeting this week with Obama, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. The U.S. president arrives in Tokyo on April 23 and will also travel to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Aiful soared 11 percent to 346 yen and Aplus jumped 13 percent to 150 yen. Under a proposal being considered by the Liberal Democratic Party, the ceiling on interest rates would be restored to 29 percent from the current 20 percent to make it easier for smaller businesses to procure funds, the Nikkei newspaper reported on April 19. The LDP aims to revise the law in the current session of parliament, which runs through June, the newspaper reported.
Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. slumped 7.3 percent to 519 yen, the biggest decline since Feb. 4. The company forecast unconsolidated full-year net income of 7 billion yen, short of the 8.1 billion-yen average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Equity markets around the world were shut April 18 for a holiday with many of them not reopening until tomorrow.
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