The FINANCIAL — TOKYO. The Nikkei Stock Average fell on May 24 for the fourth straight day as unrelenting worries about the euro's weakness dragged on exporters, offsetting gains in Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and other shipping company shares.
"Investors may want to avoid risky assets for now, but since Tokyo shares are at such cheap levels, the market downside should be limited," said Shinichiro Matsushita, market analyst at Daiwa Securities.
The Nikkei fell 26.14 points, or 0.3%, to 9758.40. It has now lost 4.7% over the last four sessions and now stands 8.4% below its 25-day moving average. Matsushita said the index may trade between 9500 and 10,000 this week.
The Topix index of all the Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section issues rose 0.32 point, or 0.04%, to 880.01, with 16 of 33 subindexes closing in negative territory.
"Exporters with relatively high exposure to euro zone countries underperformed the market, with Mazda Motor shedding 1.3% to Y228 and Nikon falling 1.2% to Y1,766," Nikkei.com informs.
As of 0450 GMT, the euro stood at Y113.00 after falling to as low as Y112.08 during in the morning session. The dollar was changing hands at Y90.22, up from its intraday low of Y89.74.
Shares of shipping companies rose, with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines adding 2.6% to Y624 and Kawasaki Kisen adding 3.9% to Y343 after Nomura Securities lifted their ratings to Buy, citing a recovery in their core container businesses.
Heavily-weighted JX Holdings also gained 4.6% to Y496, helped by a Nikkei report that the firm's Nippon Oil unit plans to invest about Y20 billion to commence commercial production of a new biofuel that generates less carbon dioxide during production than conventional biofuels. Cheaper than gasoline, there is speculation that China may become a lucrative market if the fuels become popular.
Apparel maker Renown jumped 35% to its limit-up level of Y191 after the Nikkei reported that it had entered final talks to become a unit of major Chinese textile firm Shandong Ruyi.
On the Osaka Securities Exchange, June Nikkei 225 futures ended up 30 points, or 0.3% at 9,760.