May 2, 2018 / 2:07 AM / a year ago

Japan's Nikkei sags as automakers slip on softer U.S. sales

TOKYO, May 2 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average dipped on Wednesday, weighed by weaker automakers, although the dollar’s rise to three-month highs versus the yen and positive sentiment toward tech stocks helped curb some of the losses.

The Nikkei was 0.24 percent lower at 22,454.91 and the broader Topix dropped 0.25 percent to 1,769.72.

Automakers slipped after several posted weaker new U.S. vehicle sales in April with consumer demand in the world’s largest economy continuing to soften.

Toyota Motor Corp, which posted a 4.7 percent decline in April U.S. sales, slipped 0.6 percent. Nissan Motor Co fell 1.2 percent after its April U.S. sales fell 28 percent and Honda Motor Co was down 2.1 percent after its April U.S. sales declined 9.2 percent.

Technology firms were buoyant after Apple Inc’s March quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts.

Electronics parts manufacturer Murata Manufacturing Co gained 2.1 percent, electronic material maker TDK Corp climbed 1.7 percent and industrial tape and LCD manufacturer Nitto Denko Corp advanced 4 percent.

A weaker yen also helped exporter stocks. Konica Minolta Inc was up 1.2 percent. Chip equipment makers Tokyo Electron and Advantest Corp rose 0.4 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Japanese financial markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday for national holidays. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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