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Japanese stocks retreat as firmer yen weighs on exporters

The benchmark Nikkei share average slid 0.5 per cent to 23,292.65 .

Reuters|
Nov 19, 2019, 01.09 PM IST
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Agencies
Japan
Overnight, Wall Street's main indexes were mostly flat, looking for direction on trade, though they ended the day inching up to record closing levels.
Japanese shares slipped on Tuesday, with exporters pressured by a firmer yen against the dollar, while investors awaited clarity on the progress of negotiations to end the trade war between the United States and China.

The benchmark Nikkei share average slid 0.5 per cent to 23,292.65 and the broader Topix fell 0.2 per cent at 1,696.73.

Overnight, Wall Street's main indexes were mostly flat, looking for direction on trade, though they ended the day inching up to record closing levels.

CNBC reported on Monday that the mood in Beijing was pessimistic about the prospects of sealing a phase-one deal with Washington.

On the other hand, a new extension allowing US companies to continue doing business with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd suggested something of an olive branch.

Still, neither factor shed much light on progress in US-China negotiations, and lacklustre trading so far this week suggests optimism that a resolution is near is beginning to run out of steam.

The Japanese yen firmed as much as 0.2 per cent to 108.47 versus the dollar in Asian trade on Tuesday, weighing on exporters as a strong local currency hurts corporate profits when they are repatriated.

Export-oriented Toyota Motor Corp declined 1.1 per cent, Fanuc Corp dropped 1.5 per cent and Toshiba Corp shed 3.0 per cent.

Semiconductor-related also shares retreated, with SUMCO Corp down 3.1 per cent, Disco Corp falling 2.2 per cent and Advantest Corp dropping 1.6 per cent.

Meanwhile the Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp fell 1.3 per cent after Reuters reported that the New York State Attorney General is investigating WeWork, citing sources. SoftBank Group is the majority owner of the office-sharing startup.

Elsewhere, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp slid 3.4 per cent after Japan's largest chemical maker said it will pay 491.8 billion yen ($4.5 billion) to make Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp a fully-owned subsidiary.

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma shares surged 22 per cent, by their daily limit of 300 yen, helping the pharmaceutical sector to gain 1.7 per cent, becoming the best-performing sector subindex on the main board.
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