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Japan’s Nikkei slips from 2-month high on selloff in chip stocks

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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei edged lower on Friday, as investors sold heavyweight chip-related stocks after the share average hit a more-than two month high in the last session, although hopes for slower interest rate hikes globally capped declines.

The Nikkei lost 0.34% to 28,286.94 by the midday break but it was set to rise 1.39% for the week. The broader Topix fell 0.13% to 2,016.23 and on course to post a 2.49% weekly gain.

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“Investors sold shares for profit-taking today. That was seen in chip-related stocks, which were strong in the past few sessions,” said Shuji Hosoi, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

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“Overall the market was supported by hopes for slower hikes of the ECB, which sent the Germany’s 10-year bond yields lower.”

Investors saw some dovish hints in the minutes from the European Central Bank’s most recent policy meeting, which was published Thursday, even as they showed policymakers’ fears that inflation might be becoming entrenched.

The Nikkei’s jump in the previous session was underpinned by hopes for a slower pace of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In Japan, chip-related Tokyo Electron fell 0.32% after jumping 3.68% in the week, while Advantest slipped 0.32% after posting a 4.23% weekly gain.

Dentsu Group lost 3.95% after a report that Tokyo prosecutors searched the advertising agency and other firms in connection with possible bid-rigging for Tokyo Olympics test events.

Hub Co, which runs British style pubs, jumped 6.91%, extending its gain after Japan made a stunning 2-1 upset over four-times champions Germany in their World Cup opener on Wednesday.

The utility sector rose 1.39% to become the top gainer among the 33 industry sub-indexes on the Tokyo bourse.

Tokyo Electric Power jumped 4.2% to become the Nikkei’s biggest gainer, followed by heavy machinery raker Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with a 4.05% jump. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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