Japanese stocks fluctuated after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled an increase in U.S. interest rates is unlikely before mid-year and companies on the Topix index traded without the right to the next dividend payment.
SoftBank Corp. gained 3 percent to be the biggest support to the Topix. NTT Data Corp. added 2.4 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its rating on the stock. Aeon Co., Japan’s largest retailer, fell 0.8 percent after the stock went ex-dividend today. Pachinko slot machine maker Sankyo Co. sank 6 percent after cutting its profit forecast.
The Topix gained 0.2 percent to 1,511.71 at the trading break in Tokyo, swinging from a 0.1 percent loss. Ten shares rose for every seven that fell. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.1 percent to 18,628.98 after closing yesterday at a 15-year high. The yen rose 0.2 percent to 118.72 per dollar.