Japan Stocks Fall as Insurers, Lenders Drop; Casio JumpsAnna Kitanaka and Yuko Takeo
Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index falling to its lowest in a week, as the yen held gains and insurers and consumer lenders retreated.
Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. sank 2.9 percent as insurers declined the most among the Topix’s 33 industry groups. AEON Financial Service Co. dropped 3.7 percent, leading a Topix measure of financing companies lower, after Credit Suisse Group AG cut the credit-card company to neutral from outperform. Casio Computer Co. jumped 7.5 percent after the watchmaker said it will buy back about 12.5 billion yen ($123 million) in shares.
The Topix slid 0.3 percent to 1,275.70, its lowest close since June 30. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.4 percent today to 15,314.41. The yen traded little changed at 101.85 per dollar after gaining the past two days.
“Japan and overseas markets are taking a breather today,” said Ayako Sera, a Tokyo-based market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. “With the U.S. trading close to record highs, some investors think we’re overdue for a correction.”
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent. The measure fell 0.4 percent yesterday from a record, with small companies declining as investors weighed valuations and speculated the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than expected.
Japan posted its fourth straight current-account surplus in May, the Ministry of Finance said today. The surplus was 522.8 billion yen, compared with economists’ estimates for 417.5 billion yen.
Tokio Marine fell 2.9 percent to 3,237 yen, while life insurer T&D Holdings Inc. slid 3 percent to 1,370 yen. Orix Corp. retreated 2.2 percent to 1,664 yen. AEON sank 3.7 percent to 2,594 yen after Credit Suisse reduced its share-price target to 2,400 yen from 2,633 yen and said pre-tax growth at Asian units would slow.
The Topix climbed 11 percent from a May 21 low, paring its drop for the year to 2 percent. The gauge traded at 1.2 times book value, compared with 2.8 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday and 1.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Volume on the Japanese gauge was about 9.6 percent higher than the 30-day average today.
Among stocks that rose, Casio jumped 7.5 percent to 1,571 yen, its highest close since October 2007. The company said it will repurchase as much as 3.2 percent of its shares between today and the end of August.
Wire and cable-makers surged on expectation of higher demand as Typhoon Neoguri neared the Okinawa island chain. Totoku Electric Co. jumped 12 percent to 177 yen, while SWCC Showa Holdings Co. surged 8.7 percent to 113 yen. Nihon Electric Wire & Cable Co. gained 1.6 percent to 390 yen after rising as much as 21 percent.