All good things come to an end: Japan's benchmark just finished its longest ever win streak

Key Points
  • The Nikkei 225 closed lower on Wednesday, ending a 16-day win streak
  • Japanese markets climbed in the lead up to and following the Oct. 22 election in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party recorded a strong win
  • The benchmark index will trade in a range between 20,500 and 22,500 for now, Nomura analysts predicted
Pedestrians stand in front of an electronic stocks indicator displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on Oct. 23, 2017.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

The Nikkei 225 had been on a tear, closing higher for a record-breaking 16th straight session and setting a fresh 21-year high on Tuesday.

But that all came to a close on Wednesday when the index fell about half a percent.

Still, the share average's win streak had been something of a feat.

Until Monday, the Nikkei 225's previous record streak was a 14-day period set on Jan. 11 1961. The 16-day win streak is also the longest streak of any kind — winning or losing — made by the Nikkei 225. That had last been set in May, 1954, when it fell for 15 continuous days.

This time around, the index had climbed in the lead up to Japan's Oct. 22 lower house elections on investor expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition would win.

Abe's subsequent resounding win pointed to the status quo being retained in terms of the prime minister's Abenomics program, which involves the "three arrows" hyper-easy monetary policy, fiscal stimulus and structural reform. Critics have long lamented that the last of those three arrows has not taken place at a fast enough pace.

Still, some analysts said Abe's consolidation of power at the recent election implied good news for equity markets.

Although near-term profit-taking was likely, the election "result is fundamentally positive for the equity market as political stability should be restored," analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in an Oct. 23 note.

They added: "[The] Japanese equity market is backed by solid fundamentals and long-term positioning remains light. We believe the election result reduces one key risk factor of political stability and supports the equity market over the medium term."

Other factors that have driven the Nikkei 225's rally include strength in the U.S. stock markets, depreciation in the yen beginning mid-September and the upturn in both the global and domestic economy, Masaki Motomura, an analyst at Nomura Securities, told CNBC.

The Nikkei 225 closed down 0.45 percent, or 97.55 points, at 21,707.62. The index had dropped some 66 points in the span of six minutes in afternoon trade after holding just above the flat line for the morning session.

Don't be fooled by Japan's stock market rally: investor
Don't be fooled by Japan's stock market rally: investor

Ahead, analysts indicated that there might not be a ton of room left for the index to climb further.

"We see the Nikkei 225 at 21,500 to 22,500 for now, 21,800 at end-2017 and at 22,000 to 23,700 through end-2018," Nomura analysts said in an Oct. 23 note.

For comparison, the Nikkei 225 closed at 21,805.17 on Tuesday.

The analysts had previously forecast the Nikkei share average to trade between a range of 20,000 and 21,500 through 2017, but had revised their outlook after the index surpassed the top-end of the range on Oct. 19.

"We see limited upside this year," Motomura added.

Cindy L. Sweeting and Alan Chua, director of portfolio management and portfolio manager respectively at Templeton Global Equity Group, indicated that there were long-term challenges ahead for Japan given its "heavy reliance on massive monetary easing, central bank ... asset buying and an overarching policy of asset price inflation."

Those purchases "raise[d] the risk of reduced liquidity and increased volatility at some point down the road," the analysts cautioned.

While the Nikkei 225 remained far off its all-time high of 38,916 set in December 1989, the index has risen 13.55 percent in 2017.