Japan’s Nikkei pulls back from 10-week high as traders post profits

TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index fell on Wednesday after hitting a 10-week high in the previous session as traders locked in profits ahead of the new fiscal year after buying stocks Tuesday to guarantee the payment of dividends.

The Nikkei stock average fell 1.27% to 27,893.92 at the midday break. Tuesday’s close at 28,252.42 was the highest since January 18 and came on the last day to secure dividend allocations. The benchmark had climbed 14.3% from a 16-month low on March 9.

Wednesday’s decline was also driven by continued high oil prices, which have shaken investor confidence in a country dependent on imported commodities.

Of the 225 stocks comprising the Nikkei, 189 fell, while 32 rose and four were flat.

The broader Topix fell 1.55%.

“It feels like the rally is taking a break, and this comes as we head into earnings season, so it’s hard to buy stocks aggressively from here,” a trader said. of a national securities company.

Among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 sub-sectors, shippers faced the worst, plunging 8.82% after a rally in the previous session. More optimism about the outlook for the conflict in Ukraine has raised expectations that tight container demand could be due to the easing.

Nippon Yusen was the biggest percentage drop in the Nikkei, dropping 11.25%.

Iron and steel was the second-worst subsector in the TSE with a 4.85% drop, followed by a 4.13% drop for petroleum and coal products.

Among other notable losers, Toyota Motor lost 1.55%, store operator Uniqlo Fast Retailing lost 0.76% and Sony fell 0.77%.

Nintendo plunged 5.4% after saying it was pushing back the release of the highly-anticipated “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” sequel to spring 2023 from a planned debut this year. (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; Editing by Uttaresh.V)