Japanese Shares Fall First Time in Three Days Amid Thin Volume

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Japanese shares fell for the first time in three days amid light trading before a national holiday. Tiremakers and brokerages led declines while agricultural stocks advanced.

The Topix index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,314.83 at the close in Tokyo. The drop follows a 2.9 percent climb in the past two sessions, its biggest such gain in about a month. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average also lost 0.2 percent. The yen traded 0.5 percent stronger at 101.35 a dollar after gaining 0.6 percent on Tuesday. Japanese markets are closed on Thursday for Mountain Day holiday.

“The market is taking a breather” with many investors on summer vacation, said Chihiro Ohta, a senior strategist with SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “Investors won’t be inclined to take on big risks.”

Volume was 18 percent less than the 30-day average on the Topix, with about five shares falling for every four that rose. Still, the measure bounced off earlier lows, rising by as much as 0.1 percent, albeit briefly around midday. The Bank of Japan’s exchange-traded fund purchases are helping stem big declines in stock prices amid thin trade, said Hideyuki Suzuki, a general manager with SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo.

  • Mobile giant SoftBank Group Corp. provided the largest boost to the Nikkei 225, rising 2.6 percent.
  • Bridgestone Corp. weighed most heavily on a gauge tracking tiremakers, losing 6.8 percent.
  • Cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. slumped 7.5 percent, its biggest drop since February, after the company slashed its annual operating profit forecast by 21 percent.
  • Japan Display Inc. sank 5.8 percent. The panel maker expects to get tens of billions of yen in loans and loan guarantees from government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified sources.

In the U.S., the latest data showed the productivity of American workers unexpectedly declined for a third straight quarter, with a measure of employee output per hour decreasing at an annualized rate of 0.5 percent for the April-June period. This may weaken expectations for a rate hike in the U.S., which will add pressure on the yen to gain against the dollar, SMBC Nikko’s Ohta said.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index slid 0.1 percent after the underlying measure closed little changed on Tuesday.