Japan's latest batch of economic data and corporate earnings paint a slowly brightening picture, but shares can't seem to gain any traction.
"The valuations are very modest in our view and if you look at corporate balance sheets, (they) are very, very healthy in Japan. Anything from a bottom up perspective is looking fairly positive," said Amir Anvarzadeh, director of Japan equities at BGC Securities.
"But unfortunately right now, we're not really in a bottom up kind of market," he added. "Unfortunately the market is very macro driven."
(Read more: A good start to the year for Japan's economy)
On the surface, the macro-economic data appear positive, with a strong start to the year. Japan's retail sales rose 4.4 percent in January from a year earlier, above analyst expectations for a 3.8 percent rise and marking a sixth straight month of gains.
Meanwhile, household spending rose 1.1 percent on year in January, well above expectations for a 0.2 percent gain, while industrial output rose 4 percent from a month earlier, also beating forecasts.