Japan Stocks Turn Lower, With Retail Earnings Failing To Give Boost

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks rolled back downhill in early Wednesday trading, with the Nikkei Average weaker by 1% after a 1.3% climb the previous day, while the Topix also shed 1%. Forex seemed not much of factor, as the dollar was trading at �122.45, little changed from the day before. Reasonably strong quarterly earnings from a trio of convenience-store operators failed to stop investors from take some money out of their stocks: Shares of 7-Eleven owner Seven & I Holdings Co. lost 1% despite a 7% gain for March-May net profit, while rival Lawson Inc. lost 1.6% despite a 16% rise in its pretax profit. Similarly, FamilyMart Co. dropped 2.2% after reporting a 20% gain in quarterly pretax profit. In the broader retail space, J. Front Retailing Co. lost 1.3%, Isetan Mitsukoshi gave up 2%, and Aeon Co. retreated by 1.1% as Reuters reported it was interested in buying the Malaysian unit of the U.K.'s Tesco PLC for about $1.4 billion. But larger peer Fast Retailing Co. managed to gain 0.4%. Sony Corp. and Yahoo Japan Corp. were also among the advancers, though just barely, with Sony up 0.3% and Yahoo up fractionally. On Tuesday, Sony shares had risen and Yahoo shares had fallen after news the latter was investing close to $15 million in Sony's real-estate arm. Shippers and airlines were also mostly higher after Monday's plunge for crude-oil futures gave way to a mixed session overnight. Stock in Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. rose 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. rose 1%, and Nippon Yusen K.K. rallied 1.7%. Back in the negative column, concerns about China's economy amid the recent stock-market retreat there likely helped push Komatsu Ltd. down 2.7%, though heavily China-exposed robot maker Fanuc Corp. held losses to 0.5%.

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