Nikkei sets longest losing streak in half century

TOKYO - The Nikkei share average dipped 0.2 percent on Thursday to set its longest losing streak in more than half a century as worries about high oil prices and the global economy hit exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp



By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 3 Jul 2008, 2:46 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:45 PM

Commodity-linked stocks such as trading house Mitsubishi Corp fell after their recent bullish runs, even though oil hit a fresh record on Thursday, with US crude rising as high as $144.44 a barrel.

The Nikkei fell for an 11th day, giving up 8.2 percent during that period, its longest falling streak since a 15-day losing run in 1954.

Still market participants appeared rather calm on this historical milestone.

‘Things are getting increasingly gloomy because of the impact from high oil prices as indicated by US car sales data, but not every investor is pessimistic even after a 10-day losing streak,’ said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at the equity management department of Daiwa SB Investments.

He said money appeared to be shifting from commodity-related shares to domestic demand ones on the view that commodity prices have risen to a near peak, adding that oil prices may break below $100 a barrel by the end of this year.

‘This trend may continue in the coming three to six months,’ he said.

The benchmark Nikkei average fell 20.97 points to end at 13,265.40, while the broader Topix shed 0.2 percent to 1,298.02, falling for a seventh day.

‘If you just look at this event, it may seem like a signal that Japan is at a crossroads and something huge will happen,’ said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.

‘But it's hard to think that Japanese corporate earnings will suddenly go awry and some big changes will happen only to Japan, considering the world is all linked today.’

The market went in and out of positive territory in afternoon trade as investors nervously awaited US jobs data and the European Central Bank's decision on interest rates later in the day.

EXPORTERS, COMMODITY-LINKED SHARES DOWN

Toyota Motor and other automakers slid after Merrill Lynch downgraded General Motors saying the US automaker will need $15 billion to shore up liquidity, and sent the company's shares tumbling.

Toyota fell 0.8 percent to 4,900 yen and Honda Motor Corp dipped 0.3 percent to 3,590 yen.

US auto sales plunged in June to a 15-year low as record gas prices and declining trade-in values for big trucks and SUVs hit truck sales hard.

Electronics parts maker Kyocera Corp fell 1.3 percent to 9,710 yen and Advantest Corp shed 1.8 percent to 2,220 yen.

Commodity-linked shares fell, with trading house Mitsubishi dropping 4.4 percent to 3,450 yen, the biggest drag on the Nikkei 225.

But domestic demand stocks rose. Japan's top retailer Seven & I Holdings gained 3.3 percent to 3,120 yen and J.Front Retailing advanced 2.7 percent to 568 yen.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Japan's top lender, climbed 3.2 percent to 949 yen and No. 2 Mizuho Financial Group added 2.3 percent to 481,000 yen.

Shares of Sanyo Electric gained 3.4 percent to 242 yen after the company said it plans to build a new lithium-ion battery plant in western Japan by early to mid 2009, in its latest step to focus resources on core operations.

Trade was active on the Tokyo exchange's first section, with 2.24 billion shares changing hands, above last week's daily average of 1.84 billion.

Declining stocks outpaced advancing ones by a ratio of 2 to 1.


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