Nikkei 225 Under Pressure, Bargain Hunting at Lows

Nikkei 225 Under Pressure, Bargain Hunting at Lows

23 May 2016, 06:29
Roberto Jacobs
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Nikkei 225 Under Pressure, Bargain Hunting at Lows

The Japanese benchmark index Nikkei 225 has been under constant pressure ever since the Tokyo open, and after trading at a day low circa 16,450.00, falling as much as -1.40%, the index is now on recovery mode, down 1%. The hourly chart showsa sizeable bullish reversal bar in what appears some bargain hunting action.

Japanese trade balance reinvigorates equity sellers

Ahead of today's Tokyo open, Japan published its latest trade balance, which came at 823.5B vs.540.0B estimate and 754.2B prior, a much better than expected trade surplus, although when looking further into the details, one can notice that the increased surplus was due to a larger than expected fall in imports (-23.3% YoY vs -19.2%), which was accompanied by declining exports as well, coming at -10.1% vs -9.9%.

The data has been perceived as a sign of domestic weakness by investors, and despite shares outside Japan held steady (see MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific), the Nikkei 225 decoupled from the steadier performance in regional shares indexes.

Japanese data taken at face value?

In order to understand why Japanese equity investors might have been selling out shares quite aggressively today, it is worth reminding readers of the case made last week follwing improved Japanese growth figures.

As I wrote, one of the key takeaways from a much better-than-expected Q1 preliminary Japanese GDP, was that, "while in the past poor Japanese data has been attributed to buying opportunities domestically in anticipation of further BOJ action, the fact that the Eurozone and US are starting to also show improving growth data, might suggest that Japanese investors may now treat good/bad news in Japan at face value, as catalyst for further upside/downside in equities."

Nikkei key levels

The sharp decline in the Nikkei 225 found a temporary bottom just ahead of 16,400.00 (daily S2), with immediate resistance now located around 16575/16.600.00 (Daily S1). A further recovery may see the index target 16,700 level, a round number that coincides with today's daily pivot. Should the downside pressure resume, past today's day lows, 16,300.00 look like the next major intraday target for the bears.


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