TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei index gave up early gains to trade little changed on Thursday, as the drag from shippers and chip-related shares offset rises in energy stocks and automakers.
The Nikkei share average was about flat at 28,238.19 as of 0154 GMT, off its earlier gains of 0.31% that took it to 28,322.28, a level not seen since late-March. The benchmark had rallied close to 10% over the four weeks to Wednesday.
The broader Topix edged up 0.04% to 1,970.82.
“From a technical point of view, the Nikkei’s recent rally seems heated, and a correction at any moment wouldn’t be unusual, but right now stocks are getting support from the yen’s steep decline,” said Nomura Securities strategist Maki Sawada.
Of the Nikkei’s 225 component stocks, 114 rose versus 98 that fell and 13 were flat.
Energy was by far the Nikkei’s best performing sector, up over 2% amid a climb in crude oil prices. Inpex rallied 2.86%.
Car and motorcycle manufacturers gained, led by a 3.54% climb for Yamaha and a 2.35% advance for Subaru , as the yen retreated as far as 134.56 per dollar , extending a two-decade trough and boosting the value of U.S. sales. Toyota added 0.47%.
Startup investor SoftBank Group was up 2.26%, after having jumped more than 5%, as shares of one of its top investments — Alibaba — rallied on Wednesday along with other Chinese tech names.
However chip-making equipment manufacturers dragged, following a 2.39% overnight slump for the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index. Tokyo Electron slid 2.93% and Advantest lost 2.73%.
Shippers tumbled, with Kawasaki Kisen being the Nikkei’s biggest percentage decliner, suffering a 7.49% drop. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines slumped 6.88% and Nippon Yusen fell 6.33%.
Electronics maker Sharp tumbled 7.27% after forecasting a one-third drop in profit.