TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average dropped from a 16-month peak on Wednesday, as cautious investors took profits ahead of crucial US inflation data that could influence the path for the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.
At the same time, domestic earnings continued to produce outsized winners and losers, with department store operator Marui Group 8252.T surging as much as 21%, while Mitsubishi Motors 7211.T finished down 9.83% after forecasting a drop in profit.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s iron and steel subindex flipped from being the best-performing sector in the morning to the worst performer, after poor results from Nippon Steel 5401.T snowballed with earlier earnings disappointment from Pacific Metals 5541.T. Stocks in both companies dropped in excess of 10% at their lowest points.
The Nikkei ended down 0.41% at 29,122.18. On Tuesday, it had surged 1% to close at its highest level since January 2022.
The broader Topix fell 0.55% to 2,085.91. It closed at its highest since September 2021 on Tuesday.
Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda’s comment to lawmakers that it was too early to discuss disposal of the central bank’s ETF holdings buoyed stocks briefly in the early afternoon before sellers came back in.
“Today, we’re seeing the retracement of some of Tuesday’s strong rise, which has created an environment that’s ripe for profit-taking,” said Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura Securities.
“Domestic earnings are certainly a key focus for the market this week, but so are US inflation readings.”
The reporting season reaches a crescendo this week. Close to 300 companies report earnings on Wednesday, climbing to almost 500 on Thursday, and reaching a peak at more than 1,000 companies on Friday.
Toyota Motor rose as much as 2.5% after posting favorable financial results mid-afternoon, but gains faded to just 0.78% by the close.
(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Rashmi Aich)