TOKYO — Japanese shares retreated from early gains on Wednesday on profit-booking as U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s call for big spending was not perceived by investors as surprising.
Nikkei share average edged down 0.38% to 28,523.26, while the broader Topix inched down 0.34% to 1,849.58.
Asian shares climbed to a record high as Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump.
However, there was no fresh reaction in the Japanese market as Yellen’s remarks have been reported by media in advance, said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.
“Yellen’s speech was fully priced in today’s market. Investors are selling shares for profit taking,” Ichikawa said.
The decline is capped by chip and electronic component shares. Taiyo Yuden rose 3.92% and Tokyo Electron gained 0.9%. Rohm Co rose 1.02% and TDK Corp was up 0.4%.
Tokyo Electric Power surged 7.63% as Japan’s wholesale electricity prices rose because power providers were desperate for supplies to meet demand for heating in the cold weather.
There were 120 advancing stocks on the Nikkei index, against 101 decliners.
ANA Holdings fell 3.35% after Jiji press reported the airline would post its worst current profit for nine months through December. Japan Airlines fell 1.77%.
The largest percentage gainer in the index was Sumitomo Chemical Co, which jumped 9.65%.
The largest percentage losers in the index were Daiichi Sankyo Co, which fell 3.97 %, followed by Keio Corp losing 3.9%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)