Tokyo stocks drifted lower on Monday in thin holiday trade, pulling down markets in China and South Korea, with the majority closed for the Easter holiday. After rising in early trade, Tokyo ended down 0.3 percent as the Bank of Japan's closely watched “Tankan” business confidence survey slipped after five straight quarters of growth.
Selling was mainly driven by profit-taking, analysts said, with investors squaring positions before major overseas markets open after Easter. “All eyes are on the opening in New York following the holidays,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
With no direction from Wall Street or Europe, Tokyo dragged down other Asian markets. The government in Beijing imposed new tariffs on 128 US imports worth $3 billion, including fruits and pork, in retaliation for US duties on steel and aluminium, fanning fears of a trade war, according to APP.
“New tariffs by China on US imports stoked worries over a new round of US-China trade frictions,” said Zhang Gang, an analyst with Central China Securities.
Oil prices also rose in Asian trade following a reported drop in US rig drilling activity.