4:30 PM Tokyo – Stocks in Japan struggled to hold early gains and confidence index dropped in a quarterly survey. Toto Ltd declined after it lowered full-year earnings outlook. Tokyo Electric Power dropped 3.7% in a volatile trading.
Stocks in Japan closed lower on Friday but gained for the second week in a row.
The quarterly survey from the Bank of Japan indicated confidence index among manufacturers increased to 6 in March from 5 in December. The central bank is expected to release a breakdown of responses before and after the quake to measure the impact on the confidence.
Nikkei 225 Stock Average decreased 0.5% to 9.708.39 and the broader Topix declined 0.8% to 862.62.
The Nikkei index gained 1.8% in the week and rose for the second week in a row. The stocks were higher this week after the release of retail sales increase of 0.1% and unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in February.
The yen fell to close at 83.16 to a dollar.
Xstrata agreed with Japan based Chugoku Electric for one year to sell coal at US$129.80 a ton.
The coal spot price soared 13% to US$123.20 a ton compared to previous price of $115 a ton for supplies to Japanese utilities.
Japan is expected to increase its coal imports between 5% and 7% to meet the electric power demand after the loss of Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Toto Ltd declined 1.2% to 661 yen after the toilet maker lowered the latest fiscal year net income to 4.5 billion yen from 6 billion yen and blamed power cuts and production delays.
Tokyo Electric Power declined 3.7% to 449 yen in a volatile trading as speculators reacted to a report in the Mainichi newspaper that government is looking to take a stake in the company that is below 50%.
Kansai Electric Power Co. declined 1.4% to 1,785 yen and Chubu Electric Power Co. fell 2.9% to 1,795 yen.
Property developers increased after positive comments from a broker. Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsui Fudosan gained 2% on the speculation that the recent 12% decline in prices after the March 11 earthquake may have been overdone.
Inpex increased 4.3% to 658,000 yen after the crude oil prices reached a new 30-month high as the Western aggression in Libya continues.
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. increased 1% to 4,200 yen.
Oji Paper Co., the largest maker of paper and pulp products declined 3.8% to 380 yen.
A rise in oil and commodities prices lifted stocks of trading companies. Marubeni increased 2.3% to 613 yen and Mitsui Co Ltd increased 0.6% to 1,500 yen. Mitsubishi Corp increased 0.7% to 2,324 yen.