August 20, 2018 / 7:00 AM / 3 months ago

Japanese stocks ease, investors await U.S.-China talks

* Both Topix volume and turnover fall to lowest since April

* Chip equipment makers shed after weak Sox Index

* FamilyMart UNY tumbles

* Otsuka Kagu falls after Brandes Investment sells entire stake

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei fell on Monday as chip-related stocks weakened, tracking their U.S. peers’s declines on Friday, while trading was thin as investors awaited developments from trade talks expected between the United States and China this week.

The Nikkei share average dropped 0.3 percent to 22,199.00. The broader Topix declined 0.3 percent to 1,692.15, with only 983 million shares changing hands, the lowest level since early April.

Turnover on the mainboard was 1.677 trillion yen, also the lowest level since early April.

After a plunge in Turkish lira lifted demand in the safe-haven yen, risk sentiment recovered in the Japanese market last week on news China and the United States will hold lower-level trade talks, raising hopes for a de-escalation in trade tensions.

Reports said that the talks in Washington would take place on Aug. 21 and 22, just before new U.S. tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods take effect.

“There are hopes that the trade war could be resolved soon, but at the same time, it’s too good to be true if the trade tension will be resolved completely before $16 billion on new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods take effect,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Sumco Corp declined 3.0 percent, Tokyo Electron shed 1.0 percent and Advantest Corp dropped 1.1 percent, after the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index dropped 0.7 percent on Friday.

FamilyMart UNY Holdings tumbled 11 percent after soaring 5.4 percent in the previous session as investors chased the stock higher after trading house Itochu Corp raised its stake in the supermarket operator to 50.1 percent from 41.5 percent. Itochu said 10.9 million shares of FamilyMart were offered in a takeover bid by the wholly-owned unit of the company, at the price of 11,000 yen per share, from July 17 to Aug. 16.

A fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm said that there were more applicants than the number of shares offered, triggering selling from investors who failed to participate in the takeover bid.

Otsuka Kagu dropped 5.6 percent after news that Brandes Investment sold its entire 6.41 percent stake in the furniture company. (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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