April 2, 2019 / 7:06 AM / 2 months ago

Nikkei retreats from 1-month high on selling of defensive stocks

* Banks, insurers and exporters rise

* Defensive utility, railroad stocks fall

* Zojirushi drops on weak quarterly results

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei touched a one-month high but ended flat on Tuesday, as selling in defensive stocks offset gains by financial stocks buoyed by rising U.S. bond yields.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.02 percent lower at 21,505.31, after opening at a one-month high of 21,744.64.

Analysts said that investors chased the market higher in early trade after risk appetites were boosted by optimism about the U.S. economy.

But with the Nikkei moving closer to the resistance level of 21,860, hit on March 5, profit-taking was natural, they said.

“Financial institutions such as regional banks were seen taking profits, which is commonly seen in the new fiscal year,” said Ryohei Yoshida, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Japan’s new fiscal year began on Monday.

Defensive stocks were being sold, while cyclical stocks rose on encouraging factory data in the United States.

Tokyo Electric Power Co tumbled 3.5 percent, realtor Mitsui Fudosan shed 2.4 percent and East Japan Railway Co declined 2.6 percent.

Cyclical stocks were in demand. Shipper Mitsui OSK Lines added 1.3 percent, industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp jumped 4.5 percent and Yaskawa Electric gained 2.6 percent.

The yield on U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose nearly 9 basis points for its biggest single-day jump since Jan. 4.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 1.7 percent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group advanced 1.5 percent, while Dai-ichi Life Holdings surged 2.8 percent.

Cooking appliance maker Zojirushi dropped 2.0 percent after reporting a 35.6 percent fall in operating profit, to 3.069 billion yen ($27.56 million), for the quarter ended in February.

The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent at 1,611.69. ($1 = 111.3400 yen) (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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