Japan Shares Fall First Day in Six on Tire, Steel Makers

Japanese shares fell amid low volume, with the Topix index retreating for the first time in six days, as rubber-product manufacturers and steelmakers led declines among the gauge’s 33 subsectors.

Bridgestone Corp., the world’s biggest tiremaker, lost 1.2 percent after rising 5.4 percent yesterday. A gauge tracking iron and steel producers fell 1.2 percent. Dentsu Inc. slumped 9.2 percent after Japan’s No. 1 advertising company said it will sell shares to fund an acquisition.

The Topix fell 0.3 percent to 1,170.71 at the close in Tokyo. Volume was 34 percent below the 30-day average as investors awaited monthly U.S. jobs figures tomorrow for signs the Federal Reserve may taper stimulus. U.S. markets are shut for a holiday today. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.3 percent to 14,018.93.

“It’s difficult for investors to sell or buy now because U.S. markets are closed today and the jobs data comes later,” said Koji Toda, chief fund manager at Resona Bank Ltd., Japan’s fifth-largest lender by market value. “Plus, Japanese stocks are neither cheap nor expensive now after slumping in May and rebounding later.”

The Topix advanced 9.8 percent in the five days through yesterday, paring losses from an almost five-year high on May 22. The gauge is up 36 percent this year on optimism Japan may beat deflation and achieve sustainable growth.

Growth Upgrade

The Bank of Japan upgraded its economic assessment of eight regions out of nine today in its quarterly Sakura report, the equivalent of the Fed’s Beige Book. Separately, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the economy is recovering and consumer prices are likely to gradually turn positive. Kuroda spoke at a BOJ branch managers meeting in Tokyo.

Foreign investors bought a net 479.7 billion yen ($4.82 billion) in Japanese shares in the week ended June 28, the most in six weeks, according to Finance Ministry data released today.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The gauge gained 0.1 percent yesterday, when data showed jobless claims decreased to 343,000 in the week to June 29 from a revised 348,000 the prior period. A separate private report showed companies added 188,000 workers in June.

The government’s monthly labor report tomorrow will probably show the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in June, according to a Bloomberg survey. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said record stimulus could be cut if the economy meets projections.

Bridgestone Corp. fell 1.2 percent to 3,645 yen. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Japan’s No. 2 tiremaker by revenue, dropped 1.8 percent to 1,700 yen, halting a five-day rally.

Steelmakers Slide

Steel producers retreated. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., Japan’s biggest by market value, fell 0.7 percent to 280 yen. JFE Holdings Inc., No. 2 by market value, declined 2.7 percent to 2,254 yen.

Dentsu slumped 9.2 percent to 3,155 yen, the biggest drop on the Nikkei 225. The company fell to its lowest in a month after announcing it will raise as much as 120.1 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in a public share sale to help pay for the $4.8 billion acquisition of Aegis Group Plc in March.

Konami Corp., a video-game maker, dropped 7 percent to 2,001 yen, the lowest since April 22, after its rating was cut to equalweight from overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Among stocks that gained, Chiyoda Corp. added 3.9 percent to 1,221 yen after the builder of industrial plants said it acquired more than half of energy consultancy Xodus Group Ltd.

A gauge tracking consumer lenders advanced 2.3 percent, the most among the Topix subsectors. Aiful Corp., a Kyoto-based consumer financing company, surged 12 percent to 1,033 yen, its highest since May 29. Acom Co., a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., added 3.7 percent to 3,475 yen.

The Topix has swung an average of about 2.8 percent daily since May 22. The measure’s 30-day historic volatility closed at 37.65 today, near its highest since the 2011 earthquake. The gauge traded at 14.8 times average estimated earnings, compared with 14.6 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

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