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Japan Stocks mixed on US-China tensions
29-May-2020 [11:36]
Japan share market finished session mixed on Friday, 29 May 2020, as investors elected to book recent profit, on raising jitters about a fresh standoff between the world's two largest economies over Hong Kong's special status. Meanwhile, yen strengthened against greenback alongwith raft of weaker than expected local economic data, including weak industrial output and retail sales data for April also contributed to selloff.

At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 19.24 points, or 0.09%, to 21,935.55. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 6.88 points, or 0.44%, to 1,570.46.

Total 29 issues of 33 industry category of Topix index ended in negative territory, with Iron & Steel, Marine Transportation, Air Transportation, Transportation Equipment, Mining, and Machinery issues being notable losers, while Pharmaceutical, Information & Communication, and Foods issues were notable losers.

China approved a controversial national security law for Hong Kong on Thursday, triggering concerns that the new law will end the city's autonomy. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump said he plans to hold a news conference about China later today. The move came after Washington revoked the special status conferred on Hong Kong, paving the way for the territory to be stripped of trading and economic privileges.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the status had been withdrawn because China was no longer honouring its handover agreement with Britain to allow Hong Kong a high level of autonomy.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Japan Industrial Output Falls 9.1% In April- Japan industrial output fell a seasonally adjusted 9.1% in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Friday, following the 3.7% drop in March. Ona yearly basis, industrial production tumbled 14.4% after slipping 5.2% in the previous month. Upon the release of the data, the METI downgraded its assessment of industrial production, saying that it is declining rapidly. Shipments were down 8.8% on month and 15.9% on year, while inventories eased 0.3% on month and added 2.7% on year. The inventory ratio spiked 12.7% on month and 28.1% on year. According to the METI's forecast of industrial production, output is expected to fall 4.1% on month in May and then rise 3.9% in June.

Japan Retail Sales Drop 9.6% On Month In April- Japan retail sales was down a seasonally adjusted 9.6% on month in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Friday following the 4.5% drop in March. On a yearly basis, retail sales tumbled 13.7% after slipping 4.6% in the previous month.

Japan Unemployment Rate At 2.6% In April- Japan unemployment rate came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.6% in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, up from 2.5% in March. The jobs to applicant ratio fell to 1.32, down from 1.39 in the previous month. The number of employed persons in April was 66.28 million, a decrease of 800,000 from the previous year. The number of unemployed persons in April was 1.89 million, an increase of 130,000 from a year earlier.

CURRENCY: The Japanese yen traded at 107.34 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.8 yesterday.

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