Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index slipping from a seven-week high on muted volume, as pharmaceutical shares led declines.
Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. tumbled 9.7 percent, leading losses among drugmakers after a short-seller report on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. roiled U.S. health-care stocks. Heavy machinery maker IHI Corp. slumped 11 percent after cutting its profit target. Software infrastructure service provider Obic Co. jumped 7.4 percent after saying first half net income rose 41 percent.
The Topix slid 0.6 percent to 1,518.22 at the close of trading in Tokyo, swinging from a gain of 0.6 percent. Volume was about 19 percent below the 30-day average. The gauge closed Wednesday at the highest since Aug. 31 as speculation grew that the Bank of Japan will boost monetary easing after weaker-than-expected trade data. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.6 percent to 18,435.87 on Thursday, and the yen traded at 119.70 per dollar after weakening for five days.