Japanese stocks wobble on uncertainty over Fed, earnings

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TOKYO — Japanese shares were flat on Thursday, as traders eyed the latest statements from U.S. Federal Reserve officials, while uncertainty over domestic corporate earnings kept investors on the sidelines.

As of 0015 GMT, Nikkei share average was flat at 28,863.88, while the broader Topix slipped 0.14% to 1,946.45.

Although the market has been recovering from last week’s losses, triggered by a hawkish shift in the U.S. Fed’s policy guidance, it is starting to lose traction, analysts said.

“U.S. inflation could stay at high levels, so we will need more data on inflation, wages and employment. And, quarterly earnings will be a few weeks away, the market is running out of trading factors,” Nobuhiko Kuramochi, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities said.

Two Fed officials said a period of high inflation in the United States could last longer than anticipated, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell played down rising price pressures.

Many hospitality-related shares, which led index’s gains before the Fed meeting outcome, have now succumbed to profit-taking.

West Japan Railway fell 1.9% while department store operators Isetan Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya lost 1.9% each.

Sumitomo Forestry fell 2.3% after the company announced a plan to sell new 16 million shares, which amount to 8.7% of its existing shares to raise up to 37.1 billion yen ($334.32 million).

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Toshiba erased early losses to trade 0.4% higher after weekly financial magazine Diamond reported Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory, in which Toshiba holds a 40.6% stake, plans to list as early as in September.

Some growth shares outperformed after U.S. tech stocks hit a record high overnight.

Electronic parts maker Sumco and Minebea Mitsumi added 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively.

Mercari rose more than 10% after the flea market app operator bumped up its outlook to forecast a net annual profit of 5 billion yen, its first annual profit since its listing in June 2018.

Eisai gained 3.7% after the drugmaker said U.S. regulator had granted breakthrough therapy designation to their experimental therapy, lecanemab, for patients with early Alzheimer’s.

($1 = 110.9700 yen)

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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