Japan’s Nikkei retreats from 33-year high as sharp gains stoke caution

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average hit a more than three-decade high on Monday before reversing course to trade marginally lower as investors turned cautious about the index’s recent sharp gains.

The Nikkei index was down 0.07% at 33,562.41 by the midday break after rising earlier to its highest level since March 1990. The broader Topix fell 0.31% to 2,383.67.

“Investors sold stocks as they became cautious about recent sharp gains of the Nikkei,” said Takehiko Masuzawa, trading head at Phillip Securities Japan.

The Nikkei has risen nearly 9% so far this month, on course for its biggest monthly gain since November 2020.

“There are more positive cues for the Nikkei than negative cues, with robust corporate outlook and share buybacks from the latest earnings season and U.S. interest rates seem to have hit their peak,” Masuzawa said.

Chip-related shares weighed on the Nikkei the most, with Tokyo Electron and Advantest down 9.29% and 0.55%, respectively.

Automakers fell, with Toyota Motor and Honda Motor losing 2.7% and 2.21%, respectively, amid the yen’s gain against the dollar.

The dollar languished near a more than two-month low against its major peers, struggling to make headway on views that U.S. rates have peaked. [FRX/]

The auto and auto parts sector fell 2.14% to become the worst performer among the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes.

Panasonic Holdings extended its rally from Friday, jumping 5.3% as it announced a sale of a stake in its automotive systems business to U.S. private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Tokio Marine Holdings surged 6.27% after the casualty insurer raised its annual profit forecast and announced plans to buy back up to 2% of its own shares.

The insurance sector rose 2.14% to become the top performer among the industry sub-indexes.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)