Tokyo stocks close lower, Takata dives on bankruptcy fears

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday as energy firms were hit by a slump in oil prices, while airbag maker Takata dived again on bankruptcy fears.

Japanese petro-linked stocks lost ground amid concerns that production from US shale fields is overwhelming OPEC efforts to ease a global supply glut.

“Japanese stocks have risen for three days, and with the overseas environment a little weak, it’s easier for profit taking to take the lead,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Japan Asia Securities.

“It’s difficult to judge whether the oil drop is due to a slowdown in growth or if it’s merely a matter of oversupply,”.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.45 percent, or 91.62 points, to close at 20,138.79, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.35 percent, or 5.69 points, at 1,611.56.

Oil explorer Inpex’s shares slumped 1.23 percent to 1,038 yen while Japan Petroleum fell 1.87 percent to end the day at 2,249 yen.

Japan Airlines was up 0.26 percent at 3,452 yen and rival All Nippon Airways gained 0.45 percent to 393.6 yen on hopes that falling oil prices will mean lower fuel costs for air carriers.

Takata shares plunged again, losing almost half of their value in just three days of trading, on reports it will file for bankruptcy protection and sell its assets to a US company.

The troubled airbag maker finished at 244 yen, tumbling by nearly 25 percent — its maximum daily loss limit — on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after eye-popping falls on Monday and Tuesday.

Toshiba dropped 2.18 percent to 323 yen after confirming it has entered exclusive talks with a consortium of US, South Korean and state-backed Japanese investors to sell its prized memory chip business.

The industrial conglomerate, a pillar of corporate Japan, needs to raise money after taking massive losses from US nuclear operations that have put its survival in doubt.

In forex trading, the dollar weakened to 111.25 yen from 111.46 yen in New York.