Japan : Nikkei slips on Wall Street tumble, BOJ negative rate worries
TOKYO : Japan’s Nikkei share average slipped on Wednesday, dragged down by losses on Wall Street and weaker bank shares amid heightened speculation that the Bank of Japan will cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.The Nikkei was off its session low but still down 0.1 percent at 16,705.91 in late morning trading.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks suffered sharp falls as lower oil prices slammed energy shares and fading hopes of a near-term U.S. interest rate rise cast a shadow over the financial sector.
“Japanese stocks are falling today mostly due to overseas factors,” said Ayako Sera, market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
“Uncertainty about U.S. Federal Reserve policy is affecting global shares, and there is also uncertainly about BOJ policy as well,” she said.
Both the BOJ and the U.S. Federal Reserve will hold policy meetings next week, with analysts and investors divided on the outcomes.
The BOJ plans to make negative interest rates the centrepiece of future monetary easing as expansions to its already massive asset buying near their limits, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The central bank adopted the controversial policy in February, as a new tool in its battle to hit its 2 percent inflation target. But the policy’s unwelcome side effects have been a stronger yen and pressure on financial institutions from thinner margins.
Support for the Nikkei lies around the 16,500 level, said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
“U.S. stocks fell, and that is biggest reason why the Nikkei is down today,” he said.
The broader Topix was down 0.2 percent at 1,320.40, as the banking subindex skidded 2 percent.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. was down 3.1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell 1.6 percent.
The oil and coal subindex was 1.5 percent lower even as crude oil prices rebounded in Asian trading, after heavy selling overnight.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 0.2 percent to 11,848.09
Shares of Japan’s Seiko Holdings skidded 7.7 percent on Wednesday, a day after the Japanese watchmaker cut its profit outlook.
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