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Japan’s Nikkei falls as tech stocks drag ahead of Fed meet

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average retreated on Monday from a one-week high, as U.S. data showing sticky inflation raised worries that the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates higher for longer.

Tech and other so-called growth shares sagged after U.S. producer price data on Friday suggested inflation could prove more persistent than previously thought, ahead of a consumer price report on Tuesday and the Fed policy decision the following day.

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However, Toshiba bucked the trend, rising almost 2% amid reports that Japan Industrial Partners has moved closer to securing bank financing for a buyout.

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The Nikkei ended the day 0.21% lower at 27,842.33, after hitting its highest level since Dec. 2 on Friday.

Chip-making equipment giant Tokyo Electron fell 0.98%, and was the biggest drag on the Nikkei, shaving off 15 index points.

Uniqlo store owner Fast Retailing shed nine index points with a 0.31% decline.

Online retailer Rakuten Group was the biggest percentage decliner, sliding 3.35%. Nintendo and Sony were also notable laggards, falling 0.56% and 0.32%, respectively.

The broader Topix slipped 0.22% to 1,957.33.

“Japanese investors are worried about prolonged U.S. interest rate increases, and you can see that in the names that are leading declines,” Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura, said in a call with journalists.

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“But investors really want to see what the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will do, so I don’t expect trading leading up to that to give much indication of market direction.”

Among the Nikkei’s 225 components, 133 fell, 81 rose and 11 were flat.

While most Nikkei subsectors declined, energy added 0.3% amid a rise in crude prices, consumer cyclicals gained 0.17%, financials advanced 0.15% amid higher U.S. long-term bond yields, while utilities rose 0.14%.

Automakers were also firm with the yen stabilizing around 137 per dollar after jumping to a 3-1/2-month high of 133.62 at the start of the month. A weaker yen boosts the value of overseas revenue.

Toyota gained 0.46% and Nissan rose 0.65%. (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Vinay Dwivedi)

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