June 10, 2014 3:25 pm JST

Nikkei slips below 15,000 after recent rallies

TOKYO(Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks went downhill Tuesday, with the Nikkei index closing below 15,000 for the first time in a week as investors cashed in on gains from their recent rallies.

     The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 129.20 points, or 0.85 percent, from Monday at 14,994.80. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 6.05 points, or 0.49 percent, lower at 1,228.73.

     After opening higher, the Nikkei slipped into the minus column in midmorning due to selling for profit as the key index had risen around 8 percent since May 19 through Monday, brokers said.

     The yen's appreciation against the U.S. dollar also weighed on the market, with export-led automakers and high-tech shares dropping, they said.

     "After a rapid surge of the Nikkei, profit-taking kicked in amid a lack of major clues for selling," said Masashi Akutsu, equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., adding many investors took a wait-and-see attitude.

     In the afternoon session, the index fell below the psychologically important 15,000 threshold, but it was resilient on investors' improved sentiment over the course of Japan's economy, brokers added.

     The Japanese government said Monday the diffusion index of sentiment regarding the nation's current economicsituation among "economy watchers," such as taxi drivers and restaurant employees, rose 3.5 points from the previous month to 45.1 in May, after a fall in April.

     The Cabinet Office data also showed that the index for the direction of economic conditions in the coming few months had climbed 3.5 points to 53.8, up for the second straight month.

     Ayako Terada at Nomura Securities Co.'s investment research department said the data had positive impacts on the market, adding, "They are indicating that the economic condition after the consumption tax rate hike in April is surely on a course of recovery."

     Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,062 to 599 on the First Section, while 151 finished unchanged.

     Brokerage shares met with selling, with Nomura Holdings falling 7 yen, or 1.0 percent, to 679 yen and Daiwa Securities Group down 19 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 843 yen.

     Other major decliners included pulp and paper, communication as well as fishery and agriculture issues.

     Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories fell 49 yen, or 5.2 percent, to 892 yen after releasing the previous day a plan to raise 5.63 billion yen through third-party placement of new shares, raising concerns about share dilution.

     On the contrary, Ihara Chemical Industry gained 21 yen, or 2.6 percent, to 843 yen after revising upward its projected group sales in the November-April period to 18.37 billion yen from 16 billion yen due partly to brisk overseas sales of herbicide.

     Trading volume on the main section totaled 1,980.03 million shares, up from 1,727.38 million shares on Monday.