Japanese stocks fell for a second day on concern Europe’s debt crisis is smoldering ahead of a Spanish debt auction today. Losses were limited as U.S. retail sales rose more than expected.
Sony Corp., a consumer electronics company that gets about a fifth of its revenue in Europe, lost 2.3 percent. Olympus Corp. fell 2.3 percent after an executive said two board members plan to remain at the scandal-hit optics maker after resigning as directors. Toshiba Tec Corp. jumped 6.9 percent after a report it will buy International Business Machines Corp.’s cash register business.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) fell 0.1 percent to 9,464.71 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo after swinging between gains and losses at least 10 times. The broader Topix Index fell 0.1 percent to 803.09 before European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is scheduled to give a speech today in Frankfurt.
“People want to wait and see if Draghi will talk about bond purchases for nations with fiscal woes such as Spain,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The retail sales report confirmed the strength of personal spending. The foundation of the U.S. economy isn’t weak even though recent economic data have been mixed.”
The Nikkei 225 gained about 12 percent this year on optimism the U.S. economic recovery is picking up and on policy easing around the world, including the Bank of Japan’s extension of government bond purchases.
U.S. Retail Sales
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPXL1) fell 0.2 percent today after the gauge fell less than 0.1 percent in New York yesterday. Most U.S. shares rose after a report showed retail sales gained 0.8 percent in March, almost three times as much as economists estimated.
Japanese shares declined yesterday after the cost of insuring against a Spanish default rose to a record, stoking concern Spain may become the next euro-zone nation to need a financial rescue as it struggles to cut its deficit. Spain’s 10- year government bond yields yesterday reached a four-year high ahead of today’s auction of bills.
Sony slid 2.3 percent to 1,397 yen. Mazda Motor Corp., an automaker that gets about 20 percent of its revenue in Europe, dropped 3 percent to 130 yen.
Olympus lost 2.3 percent to 1,219 yen. Shinichi Nishigaki, 57, will continue to head the life science and industrial business after stepping down as a director, said an official who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Executive Managing Officer Kazuhiro Watanabe, 59, will head an overseas corporate section, the official said.
Toshiba Tec, half owned by electronics maker Toshiba Corp., jumped 6.9 percent to 327 yen after the Nikkei newspaper reported the firm will buy IBM’s point-of-sale terminal operations without saying where it got the information.
The Nikkei 225 Volatility Index fell 3.9 percent to 20.59, indicating traders expect a swing of about 5.9 percent on the benchmark equity gauge over the next 30 days. Trading volume was 28 percent below the 30-day average.
Shares on the Topix are valued at 0.99 times book value, compared with 2.2 times for the S&P 500 and 1.4 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. A number below one means that investors can buy companies for less than the value of their assets.
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