Japanese shares fall on profit-booking after recent rally

TOKYO: Japanese shares closed lower for a second straight session on Thursday, as investors continued to cash in after a recent rally that was led by hopes of new political leadership.

The Nikkei share average ended down 0.62% at 30,323.34, after rising as much as 0.36% earlier in the session, while the broader Topix slipped 0.3% to 2,090.16.

The Nikkei also fell after 12 straight days of posting a “bullish candlestick”, which appears when a market closes above its opening level.

Japan’s stock market has been on a tear since Sept. 3, when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced his plan to step down, raising expectations for fresh economic stimulus under new leadership.

“Domestic political developments have lifted Japanese stocks but that momentum is taking a pause after Japanese stocks outperformed the U.S. in recent gains,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

But investors have been buying the dip of late, underscoring positive sentiment, Itoshima said.

Shippers led losses by falling 1.61%, while property firms dropped 1.54%. Makers of glass, ceramics and coppers declined 1.51%.

Technology heavyweights were the biggest drag on the Nikkei, with Tokyo Electron falling 3.05%, SoftBank Group losing 1.39% and Advantest slipping 3.23%.

TOTO Ltd, which fell 5.8%, was the worst performer on the Nikkei, followed by Nexon losing 4.94% and Hitachi Zosen slipping 4.29%.

On the other hand, energy shares tracked overnight gains in U.S. peers on higher crude prices. Refiners rose 2.14% and oil explorers added 1.8%.

Toho Zinc was the best performer in the Nikkei, with a 4.89% jump, followed by Fujikura, which rose 4.09%, and Idemitsu Kosan, up 3.58%.

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