December 4, 2019 / 3:20 AM / 5 days ago

Japanese shares slip on concerns of longer trade war

TOKYO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell to its lowest level in about two weeks on Wednesday as hopes for a quick initial U.S.-China deal dimmed following U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks, while a stronger yen dented appetite in the country’s exporters.

The Nikkei 225 index slid 1.24% to 23,089.21 and fell below its 25-day moving average of 23,253, a key technical support.

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right; it’s got to be right,” Trump told reporters in London on Tuesday, where he was due to attend a meeting of NATO leaders.

The yen has strengthened over 1% in the past 48 hours.

As a result, shares of exporters such as electronic parts maker Murata Manufacturing fell 2.4%, industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc dropped 1.6% and Honda Motor shed 1.1%.

Among other shares, Astellas Pharma fell 2.6%, extending their decline after it announced the acquisition of U.S. drugmaker Audentes Therapeutics Inc for a 110% premium.

Fast Retailing dropped 4.9% after the operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain reported weak domestic sales in November. The drop was enough to chop 110 points, or 0.5 percentage point, off the Nikkei.

The broader Topix lost 0.55% to 1,697.37, a shade better performance than the others in the region. Most major indexes lost over 1%.

About 31% of all the listed shares on the Tokyo Exchange’s main board rose, led mainly by domestic-oriented shares.

Investors usually shift money to such sectors when there are concerns around global growth.

Toiletry goods maker Kao Corp rose 0.5%, while many utility companies also gained, including Tokyo Electric Power , Chubu Electric Power and Osaka Gas, which rose 2.3%, 1.2% and 0.8% respectively. (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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