Asian Markets Update: Nikkei Sinks as Profit-Takers Book Gains - TheStreet

TOKYO -- The market added to Monday's losses today. Traders cautioned that it has room to fall as investors hurry to book profits before their fiscal first-half books close at the end of September.

The

Nikkei 225

index shed 90.67 to close at 16,040.23, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, fell 6.33 to finish at 1470.94. The

Jasdaq

small-cap index lost 1.01, or 1.3%, to stand at 78.32, while the Nikkei

over-the-counter

index lost 19.11, or 1.1%, to end the day at 1654.82.

If the Nikkei 225 index continues to fall and spikes below 16,000 this week as investors unwind cross-shareholdings, technicians say even retail investors will step in. This is more likely if the index hits a key psychological support level of 15,800.

That said, many institutional investors are quickening sales ahead of their book closings, and this activity is expected to last for at least another week. The most notable selling today was in firms tied to the

Mitsubishi

conglomerate. Rocked by scandals this past month over the cover-up of faulty cars,

Mitsubishi Motors

slid 22 yen, or 5.7%, to 363 ($3.42), while

Mitsubishi Electric

lost 11, or 1.1%, to 957. The latter was all over the papers today after the firm allegedly hid from regulators customer complaints on its television sets made between 1987 and 1988.

Technology shares were mixed, with

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

losing 50 to 11,650,

Softbank

shedding 860, or 6.6%, to 12.090 and

Tokyo Electron

sliding 350, or 2.8%, to 12,260. On the upside,

NTT DoCoMo

rose 80,000, or 2.5%, to 3.23 million, while

Pioneer Electronic

(PIO) - Get Report

gained 100, or 2.4%, to 4340.

The greenback barely budged against the yen and recently bought 106.21.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index fell 378.20, or 2.2%, to close at 16,629.78 as investors opted to close out positions before a public holiday Wednesday. Index heavyweights got pummeled, including

Pacific Century Cyberworks

(PCW)

, down HK$0.50, or 4.0%, to 12.15 ($1.56) and

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get Report

, down 1.00, or 1.7%, to 58.00.

Hutchison Whampoa

fell 4.00, or 3.6%, to 108.00 amid talk that the firm may have sold about 1% of its 3.47% holding of

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

via convertible bonds. Although the sale raised about $3 billion, traders said as long as Vodafone shares decline while Hutchison unloads its remaining stake, that will depress European telecom shares, and in turn hurt Asian telecom firms.

Markets in Korea and Taiwan were both closed for a public holiday.