December 21, 2017 / 6:51 AM / 2 months ago

Nikkei slips as banks falter; selling in construction sector eases

TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average ended down on Thursday, dragged lower by weakness in banking shares though off earlier session lows.

The Nikkei finished down 0.11 percent, or 25.62 points, at 22,866.10. The broader Topix erased losses and eked out a 0.08 percent gain to 1,822.61.

The Bank of Japan’s policy meeting announcement, with monetary settings kept unchanged, came during the midday trading break. The widely expected decision had no discernible impact on the market.

Banking stocks fell 1.1 percent, with Mizuho Financial down 1.2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group off 1.25 percent.

The retail subindex slipped 0.30 percent, led by Fast Retailing falling 1.4 percent.

The mining and oil sectors were among the gainers, up 1.45 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively, as crude oil prices marked strong gains on Wednesday on the back of a drop in U.S. crude inventories.

The battered construction sector, hit by a slew of bid-rigging allegations, limped back up, adding 0.95 percent. Shimizu Corp rose 1.38 percent and Kajima Corp was up 2.95 percent.

Japan’s Pasona Group Inc rose 12.34 percent after touching a record high. The staffing company on Wednesday hiked its operating profit forecast for the six months through Nov. 30. (Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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