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Tokyo stocks turn lower in thin trading

JIJI

Stocks fell back on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, as investors retreated to the sidelines amid a dearth of fresh trading incentives.

The Nikkei 225 lost 71.38 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at 22,199. On Friday the key market gauge rose 78.34 points.

The Topix finished down 5.38 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,692.15, after gaining 10.38 points the previous trading day.

Despite rises in U.S. equities Friday, thanks to receding worries about the U.S.-China trade row following media reports on the imminent resumption of talks between Washington and Beijing, the Tokyo market got off to a weaker start pressured by a stronger yen.

Selling accelerated in the morning, forcing the Nikkei to give up 119 points. But the market trimmed losses to some extent later on renewed buying backed by other Asian stocks’ strength, brokers said.

Investors refrained from active trading ahead of major events this week, said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

Specifically, reported subcabinet-level U.S.-China trade talks in the United States from Wednesday are being keenly awaited as well as indications on whether the administration of President Donald Trump will go ahead to apply additional tariffs on Chinese imports worth 16 billion dollars Thursday that will immediately prompt Beijing to implement retaliatory duties on U.S. imports of the same amount, according to market sources.

Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co., noted that market participants “returned to business after their summer breaks, but they found few trading clues.”

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,550 to 482 in the TSE’s first section, while 71 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 983 million shares, from 1.116 billion shares Friday.

Technology issues met with selling after their U.S. peers fared poorly Friday. Major losers included semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron and Sumco Corp., as well as industrial robot-producer Fanuc Corp.

FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co. plunged 11.27 percent after Friday’s surge on Itochu Corp.’s announcement that it made the convenience store chain a subsidiary.

Among other losers were tobacco-maker Japan Tobacco Inc. and mobile-phone-carriers SoftBank Group Corp. and KDDI Corp.

On the other hand, China-related issues turned brisk amid receding concerns over the U.S.-China trade dispute. They included construction-machinery-makers Komatsu and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., and steel-maker JFE Holdings Inc.

Open House Co. jumped 5.73 percent after Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. revised up its investment rating and stock target price for the real estate company.

Also higher were Seven Bank and cosmetics maker Shiseido Co.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average sagged 100 points to end at 22,160.