(Bloomberg) -- A declining equity market isn’t usually taken positively by investors but traders of Japanese stocks see recent strong volumes as a sign of support.

Over the past month, trading value rose on each day the Topix index lost more than 1%, except for once on Aug. 5. The benchmark stock gauge recorded a gain of over 1% only once during the same period, and volume fell.

“Bargain hunters are coming into the market whenever the Nikkei 225 breaks below the 20,500 mark,” said Makoto Hattori, an executive officer at Marusan Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Levels near 20,100, where the price-to-book ratio becomes 1, is considered rock bottom.”

The Topix declined 1% Thursday, pushing its loss to 5.2% for the month so far. The Nikkei 225 dropped 1.2% to close at 20,405.65. The total daily value of transactions on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange has averaged over 2.3 trillion yen ($21.8 billion) in August, up from 1.9 trillion over the previous two months.

The pick-up in trading is particularly notable given the Obon festival in Japan this week and the typical summer holiday season in other major markets.

The surge in volumes amid sliding stock prices is “symbolic” as it represents a new reality for Japanese equities, according to Hiroshi Matsumoto, head of Japan investment at Pictet Asset Management Ltd. “A lot of retail investors are wanting to buy especially, but only when there’s a dip in prices.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Min Jeong Lee in Tokyo at mlee754@bloomberg.net;Toshiro Hasegawa in Tokyo at thasegawa6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lianting Tu at ltu4@bloomberg.net, Kurt Schussler, Naoto Hosoda

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.