Japan Stocks Fall as Energy Shares, Retailers Lead Losses

Japanese shares fell, with the Topix index slipping from its highest level this month, as energy shares and retailers led the decline. Panasonic Corp. soared.

Idemitsu Kosan Co., an oil refiner, lost 2.8 percent. Zensho Holdings Co. slumped 7.5 percent after the fast-food chain operator announced a share sale. Panasonic, which is pivoting away from consumer electronics, jumped 5.3 percent on a report it’s in talks with Tesla Motors Inc. to build a plant in the U.S. to produce batteries for electric cars.

The Topix lost 0.7 percent to 1,225.35 at the end of trading in Tokyo after yesterday closing at its highest since Jan. 29. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.5 percent to 14,970.97 after closing above 15,000 yesterday for the first time this month. Volume on both gauges was more than 29 percent below the 30-day average.

“The market’s momentum wore off a bit after the Nikkei rose above 15,000 yesterday,” said Isao Kubo, a Tokyo-based equity strategist at Nissay Asset Management Corp., which oversees about 6 trillion yen ($58.6 billion.) “Investors don’t buy into Japanese stocks unless the yen gets weaker.”

The yen advanced 0.3 percent against the dollar yesterday amid concern China’s growth is slowing. Japan’s currency fell 0.1 percent today.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent. The equity measure fell 0.1 percent yesterday. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities rose 13.4 percent in December from a year earlier after increasing 13.7 percent in the year through November, data showed yesterday.

U.S. Sentiment

A Conference Board report showed a measure of confidence among U.S. consumers fell to 78.1 in February from a revised 79.4 the prior month. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 80.

The Topix Oil & Coal index lost 1.9 percent and the Topix Retail Trade index dropped 1.8 percent, leading declines among the 33 industry groups. Idemitsu Kosan slid 2.8 percent to 2,160 yen and Cosmo Oil Co. fell 2 percent to 194 yen. Zensho slumped 7.5 percent to 1,125 yen after saying it plans to raise as much as 30.2 billion yen in a public share sale.

Panasonic jumped 5.3 percent to 1,259 yen after the Nikkei newspaper reported it’s considering building a lithium-ion battery plant with Tesla for electric cars to start operations in 2017.

The Topix fell 5.9 percent this year, the biggest drop among major developed markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Topix traded at 1.20 times book value today, compared with 2.59 for the S&P 500 and 1.89 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index yesterday.

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