Skip to main content

TOKYO -- Shares of Japanese electronic makers hit a snag a week before their first-quarter earnings results will be released, hurting the rest of the market -- which was already depressed about recent corporate failures.


Nikkei 225

index shed 172.08, or 1.0%, to close at 16,811.49, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, lost 16.24, or 1.1%, to 1523.43. The


small-cap index fell 0.24 to 82.16, while the Nikkei


index ended the day 2.00 lower to 1705.96.

Investors, many of whom are fearful of more bankruptcies in the retail and construction sectors, have stayed on the sidelines for the past month, making the market very illiquid, traders lament. With fears of an interest rate rise as early as mid-August, lethargic trading may continue from some time.

The focus was on electronics makers Friday, as a slew of first-quarter earnings reports are scheduled to hit the market next week. Analysts said they are not expecting stellar numbers to emerge from firms like


(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

, which will release numbers Wednesday. Sony pulled shares down 270 yen, or 2.5%, to 10,680 ($98.40).



lost 26, or 1.9%, to 1319, while


shed 90 to 21,400.


lost 260, or 2.2%, to 11,840 after local reports said Japan's tax authorities were questioning president Masayoshi Son on suspicion that he failed to report about $830,000 in taxable benefits.

Bucking the trend were

Tokyo Electron

, up 40 to 14,790, and

Hikari Tsushin

, up 830, or 16.1%, to 6000. Investors are hoping Hikari will announce a comprehensive restructuring plan soon.

With dealers worried about the long-term economic scenario in Japan due to bankruptcy fears, the greenback edged higher against the yen, lately fetching 108.54.

A rather

upbeat speech on the likelihood of a soft-landing economic scenario by U.S.

Federal Reserve


Alan Greenspan

overnight helped Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index close up 162.35 at 17,920.86. Property and bank shares powered the market higher, including

Cheung Kong

, up HK$2.00, or 2.0%, to 101.00 ($12.95) and

Sun Hung Kai Properties


, up 0.50 to 66.00.

Telecom shares were lower, with

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get China Mobile Ltd. Report

shedding 0.50 to 71.75 and

China Unicom

(CHU) - Get China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. Report

losing 0.15 to 20.45.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's


index gained 4.16 to 783.06 for the day, while Taiwan's


index closed down 52.16 to 8167.37.