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Nikkei retreats after chip share rout, Trump’s reported comments on U.S.-Japan ties

JIJI

Stocks fell further on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday, led by a rout in semiconductor shares.

The 225-issue Nikkei average tumbled 180.88 points, or 0.8 percent, to end at 22,307.06, its worst finish since Aug. 21, after sliding 92.89 points Thursday. The average fell for the sixth straight session.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 8.1 points, or 0.48 percent, at 1,684.31, the lowest since Aug. 13. It lost 12.55 points the previous day.

Semiconductor-related issues met with heavy selling after their U.S. counterparts fell Thursday.

The market also took a beating from the yen’s strength against the dollar following a Wall Street Journal report that said U.S. President Donald Trump expects bilateral ties with Japan to deteriorate over trade, brokers said.

Concerns about the issue put stocks under selling pressure, said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities Ltd.

“Futures-led selling emerged as investor sentiment was dampened by the yen’s rise,” an official of a bank-linked securities firm said.

The official also said the major earthquake in Hokkaido on Thursday overshadowed the stock market, with investors still concerned about its impact on industry.

The chip stock rout in and outside Japan came after a U.S. industry official and an analyst on Thursday warned of sluggish demand ahead, market sources said.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,343 to 673 on the TSE’s first section, while 90 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose to 1.309 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.28 billion.

Semiconductor-related issues Tokyo Electron, Sumco, Advantest, Disco and Shin-Etsu Chemical dived.

Automakers Toyota, Subaru and Nissan met with selling on concerns about additional U.S. tariffs on Japanese automobiles and auto parts following the report by The Wall Street Journal.

Other major losers included industrial robot producer Fanuc and clothing retailer Fast Retailing.

By contrast, cosmetics maker Shiseido attracted buybacks after its recent falls.

Also on the plus side were mobile phone carrier KDDI and drug manufacturer Otsuka Holdings.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average lost 100 points to close at 22,380.