October 10, 2018 / 7:15 AM / a month ago

Nikkei edges up in choppy trade; FamilyMart, Don Quijote jump but SoftBank tumbles

* FamilyMart, Don Quijote jump on stake purchase report

* SoftBank tumbles as said to be eyeing investment in WeWork

* Defensive stocks rally

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged higher in choppy trade on Wednesday as investors picked up defensive stocks on the dips, while index-heavyweight SoftBank dived on news it was to buy a majority stake in U.S. shared office space provider WeWork.

Retailers Don Quijote Holdings jumped 9.4 percent and FamilyMart UNY rose 5.0 percent after the Nikkei Business online reported in late trade that FamilyMart is considering selling all of its UNY unit to Don Quijote.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.2 percent lower to 23,506.04, after switching between positive and negative territory through the day.

U.S. President Donald Trump repeated a threat on Tuesday to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese imports if Beijing retaliates for the recent levies and other measures the United States has taken.

Yields on U.S. Treasury came off their highs overnight, but investors were wary given the prospects for further spikes in the wake of strong U.S. data and a hawkish Federal Reserve.

“On a day like today, defensive shares are favoured as U.S. yields fell. But investors are still wary that U.S. yields may start rising again, so market conditions are still unstable,” said Shoji Hirakawa, a chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

Utilities advanced 1.4 percent, recouping the previous day’s losses. Tokyo Gas jumped 1.4 percent and Chubu Electric Power gained 1.1 percent.

The land transport sector was up 1.2 percent after it fell to a three-week low on Tuesday. West Japan Railway Co gained 1.1 percent and Central Japan Railway Co rallied 1.3 percent.

Index-heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp tumbled 5.4 percent to a one-month low and posted the biggest daily percentage drop in two years after a source told Reuters that the technology conglomerate is in talks to take a majority stake in shared office space provider WeWork Cos.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the investment could be between $15 billion and $20 billion and was likely to come from SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Traders said the timing of the report was negative for SoftBank, which has invested in global IT companies and whose shares have been under pressure.

A market analyst at a Japanese brokerage firm said SoftBank’s investment in another start-up company when FAANG stocks and U.S.-listed Chinese titans have been sold heavily was a worrying factor.

“It could have been positive when appraisal gains are expanding, but it is seen as a bad timing for such an investment.”

The broader Topix was up 0.2 percent to 1,763.86. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa, editing by Eric Meijer)

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