TOKYO-- Cautious trading prevailed in Asia ahead of the
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting. Key bourses in the region clung to slim gains or losses as they ended mixed.
index fell 116.32 to 19,423.38, while the
index, comprising shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, slipped 10.81 to 1697.15. The
small-cap index rose 0.14 to 103.95, while the Nikkei
shares fell 16.59 to 2315.28.
Although Japan's stock market has so far managed to stave off significant losses -- even when U.S. equity trading has gone haywire overnight -- investors are still concerned about market volatility in the wake of a U.S.
Offsetting those fears, however, is the start of half a dozen new mutual funds by the end of the month. Some traders are even predicting the Nikkei could reach 20,000 before profit-taking comes in ahead of the fiscal year-end March 31.
"It's increasingly hard to estimate where Japanese equities are heading in the next few weeks," said one trader at a U.S. house. "But one thing is for sure, there is a lot of money floating around here, and it's not just from retail."
Traders focused on domestic issues today and will likely do so until the end of the FOMC meeting. Bank shares finished lower as investors unwound cross shareholdings, with the
Industrial Bank of Japan
ending down 66, or 6.4%, to 967,
finishing down 64, or 6.0%, to 1002, and
closing down 56, or 3.9%, to 1399.
Tech shares were mixed.
edged up 170 to 27,130, helped by the firm's new business plan that would enable customers to buy Sony products over the Internet.
, considered to be one of the cheaper tech shares remaining, rose 30, or 2.0%, to 1551.
, however, closed down 80, or 2.0%, at 3890.
The greenback was trading around 107.22 against the yen, with dollar-bulls gaining short-term momentum, currency traders said.
"If Japanese investors truly want to act like global-market players, they need to wake up and realize now is a great time to conduct yen-carry trades. Otherwise, the U.S. hedge funds will be the only ones locking in the profits," said Akio Sakanaka, head of
Sovereign Asset Management
index finished up 121.52 at 15,653.86, as investors bought back index heavyweights after the sharp selloff Monday.
rose 3.000, or 2.7%, to 115.00, while
climbed 0.700, or 1.5%, to 48.800.
Selected broadcasting shares garnered some attention, with
ending up 2.250, or 3.9%, to 59.500.
index shed 15.13, or 1.6%, to 928.75, hurt by news that the country posted a trade deficit for the first time in 26 months. The
Ministry of Finance and Economy
said Korea locked in a $400 million deficit for January with exports rising 32% and imports surging 46%.
index closed up 111.50, or 1.14%, to 9856.39 on expectations of continued economic growth. Markets will be closed from Wednesday to Feb. 8 for the Lunar New Year.