Japanese stocks fall on profit booking after recent rally

TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Japanese stocks closed lower for a second consecutive session on Thursday as investors continued to cash in after a recent rally led by hopes of new political leadership.

The Nikkei stock average ended down 0.62% at 30,323.34, after rising 0.36% earlier in the session, while the broader Topix slipped 0.3% to 2,090.16.

The Nikkei also fell after 12 consecutive days of posting a “bullish candlestick,” which appears when a market closes above its open level.

Japan’s stock market has been in tears since Sept. 3, when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced his intention to step down, raising expectations for another economic stimulus under new leadership.

“Domestic political developments have boosted Japanese equities, but that momentum is pausing after Japanese equities outperformed the United States on recent gains,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

But investors have been buying the drop lately, underscoring positive sentiment, Itoshima said.

Shippers led the losses falling 1.61%, while real estate companies fell 1.54%. Manufacturers of glass, ceramics and copper fell 1.51%.

Tech heavyweights were the biggest drag on the Nikkei, with Tokyo Electron down 3.05%, SoftBank Group down 1.39% and Advantest down 3.23%.

TOTO Ltd, which fell 5.8%, was the worst performer in the Nikkei, followed by Nexon losing 4.94% and Hitachi Zosen slipping 4.29%.

On the flip side, energy stocks trailed overnight gains among their US counterparts on rising crude prices. Refiners increased by 2.14% and oil explorers added 1.8%.

Toho Zinc was the best performer in the Nikkei, jumping 4.89%, followed by Fujikura, which rose 4.09%, and Idemitsu Kosan, up 3.58%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Devika Syamnath)