Japanese stocks fell as a commodities slump deepened and poor earnings in the U.S. heightened investor concerns ahead of the start to Japan’s earnings season.
Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. sank 9 percent after operating profit shrank. SMC Corp. fell 2.3 percent after Barclays Plc lowered its rating on the industrial-parts maker. Shippers led gains on prospects for lower fuel costs and as the Nikkei newspaper reported first-quarter profit at Nippon Yusen KK will rise 70 percent, sending shares 2.4 percent higher.
The Topix index dropped 0.8 percent to 1,642.37 at the trading break in Tokyo, with all but three of its 33 industry groups declining, after the measure fell 0.4 percent last week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.7 percent to 20,394.41. Oil held losses in a bear market as a rebound in U.S. drilling added to signs producers will keep pumping amid a global glut. Weak earnings in the U.S. have soured sentiment as investors await a slew of financial reports this week from Japanese companies such as Fanuc Corp., Sony Corp. and NTT Docomo Inc.
The commodities collapse that has forced crude oil into a bear market and sent gold to a five-year low isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Oil futures were little changed in New York after capping a 5.4 percent decline last week. Gold futures in New York are poised for the biggest monthly loss in two years.