Japanese shares end lower on caution ahead of Fed chair's testimony

TOKYO, July 14 (Reuters) – Japanese shares closed lower after two straight sessions of gains on Wednesday, with investors holding their bets ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony.

The Nikkei share average lost 0.38% to end at 28,608.49, while the broader Topix slipped 0.23% to 1,963.16. For the week so far, the Nikkei is up 2.4% so far, while the Topix is almost 2.7% higher.

“Investors are locking in their profits after sharp gains in the market. But until we see market indicators from corporate earnings reports, the market will be quiet,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“The market is also moving in a tight range, as investors await Powell’s testimony, which will take place after U.S. consumer prices rose sharply.”

U.S. consumer prices rose by the most in 13 years last month, while so-called core consumer prices surged 4.5% year over year, the largest rise since November 1991.

Powell’s testimony on Wednesday and Thursday is in focus for his comments about rising price pressures and monetary support going forward.

In Japan, shippers led declines, with Kawasaki Kisen falling 4.14% in the biggest drop on the Nikkei.

Tire makers and airlines also fell, with Bridgestone losing 3.87%, while ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines fell 2.42% and 3.19%, respectively.

Yaskawa Electric fell 2.11%, retreating from a 3.14% gain this week after the robot maker raised its annual profit outlook.

Toho surged 11.09% after the film and entertainment company said its operating profit almost quadrupled in the latest quarter.

Takeda Pharmaceutical gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names with a gain of 1.74%, followed by Recruit Holdings rising 1.51%.

Hitachi, down 3.02%, was the biggest loser among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Fanuc losing 1.82%.

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