Japanese stocks fell for a third day after the yen strengthened by the most in more than two months and as an impasse between Greece and its creditors dragged on.
Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 80 percent of sales abroad, slipped 3.2 percent. Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. sank 4.1 percent, leading insurers to the largest decline on the Topix index. Hagihara Industries Inc. tumbled 7.5 percent after the textile producer forecast a lower dividend.
The Topix index slumped 1.7 percent to 1,634.37 at the close in Tokyo, its biggest decline since April 30 as all but three of 33 industry groups dropped. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.8 percent to 20,096.30. The yen traded at 124.23 per dollar after rising 0.9 percent Monday. The Topix surged 18 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 2.5 percent gain by the MSCI World Index of developed market shares.
“The market is trying to figure out its next move right now,” Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities Co. in Tokyo, said by phone. “We still have concerns over U.S. monetary policy and Greece hanging over our heads. If the U.S. moves towards raising rates, bonds will be sold, and if that turns into a big move, there’ll also be consequences for stocks.”
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed. The underlying measure slipped 0.7 percent on Monday to a two-month low as investors considered the timing of a U.S. interest-rate increase and the outlook for Greece’s debt talks.
Creditors are growing increasingly exasperated with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s negotiating tactics. U.S. President Barack Obama voiced his concern about the standoff over Greek financial aid at a Group of Seven nations summit in Germany. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece is not doing enough to ensure it can stay in the euro.
“A lot of people are worried about Greece,” Kirk Hartman, who helps oversee about $351 billion as Los Angeles-based chief investment officer of Wells Capital Management, told Bloomberg TV. “It would be better for Greece to restructure, then negotiate. We’re in for a long summer.”
The country’s $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s biggest retirement fund, which pledged last year to cut its bond holdings and double its target for stocks, will probably reach the split in a year or two, the top government adviser on the change said.
Tiremaker Bridgestone Corp. fell 2.6 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded the shares to neutral.
Natoco Co. slumped 12 percent after the paint maker slashed its full-year operating profit forecast by 36 percent, and cut its sales projection by 7.6 percent.
Among rising shares, SK-Electronics Ltd. surged 5.7 percent after the maker of components for TVs raised its operating profit forecast.