Japan stocks weaken, with energy shares down
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Japanese stocks opened slightly softer Thursday, with volumes expected to be slim as U.S. markets were closed for holiday. The Nikkei Stock Average dropped 0.2% to 9,082.44, and the Topix also fell 0.2%, with bank shares mixed ahead of key policy announcements from the European Central Bank and Bank of England. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. fell 0.8%, Nomura Holdings Inc. dropped 0.3%, and Bank of Yokohama Ltd. gave up 0.5%, but domestically focused lenders advanced, as Shinsei Bank Ltd. gained 2% and Aozora Bank Ltd. rose 1.6%. Major retailer Aeon Co. dropped 0.3% despite posting strong results for the March-May quarter, but rival J. Front Retailing Co. rose 1%. Tokyo Electron Ltd. dropped 0.3% after a Nikkei news report that it will take a tax charge for the April-June quarter. A tick-down in oil prices after a recent rally weighed on energy shares, with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. down 1% and JX Holdings Inc. losing 0.7%.