Japanese stocks were largely steady on Thursday ahead of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy meeting, while overnight positive cues from the Wall Street kept losses in check.
Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 0.08% at 27,657.53 by the end of the morning session, hovering near a six-week high hit on Wednesday.
The broader Topix lost 0.28% to 1,941.00.
“The reaction to yesterday’s rally could intensify” if the Nikkei falls below its 200-day moving average of 27,600, a market participant at a domestic securities firm said.
The market was taking a wait-and-watch attitude ahead of the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank monetary policy meetings later in the day, another domestic securities broker said.
Of the 225 Nikkei constituents, 146 fell, 68 gained and 11 were flat.
Pharmaceuticals company Shionogi & Co Ltd was the biggest decliner, dropping 8.32% on a delay in approval for a drug to treat COVID-19.
Steel companies also fell after the United States voted to extend duties on steel from Japan, China, India, South Korea, and the UK for five more years, while revoking the same duties for Brazil.
Kobe Steel Ltd lost 4.25%, while Nippon Steel Corp fell 3.88%. Pacific Metals Co Ltd, which primarily manufactures and sells nickel, was up 1.45%.
Technology companies were among the best performers in early trading. NTT Data Corp was the top gainer, up 1.65%.
Nikon Corp gained 1.63%, Fujitsu Ltd added 1.53%, and TDK Corp was up 1.45%. (Reporting by Sam Byford and Tokyo markets team; Editing by Rashmi Aich)