April 12, 2018 / 1:38 AM / a year ago

Nikkei falls on Syria tensions, retail sector driven by earnings

TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Thursday morning after Wall Street weakened on worries about possible U.S. military action against Syria, while the retail sector stocks were driven by earnings news.

The Nikkei dropped 0.2 percent to 21,655.22 in early morning trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, declaring that missiles “will be coming” and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also pressuring the dollar against the yen.

Retail shares’ moves were divided based on their earnings results.

Convenience store operator Lawson Inc tumbled 5 percent after the company expected an 8.8 percent drop in its operating profit to 60 billion yen for this fiscal year ending February 2019 as it continues to invest in new businesses.

On the other hand, supermarket operator Aeon soared more than 4 percent after it posted a record annual operating profit and forecast a further gain this year.

Household goods retailer Ryohin Keikaku jumped more than 5 percent after it said it expected a 10.6 percent rise in its net profit for the year ending February 2019 thanks to strong domestic and overseas businesses.

While mining shares staged a rally helped by rising oil prices, airlines shares tumbled on worries about higher fuel charges.

Oil prices hit their highest in more than three years overnight after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.

Inpex Corp rose 1.8 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co soared 2 percent.

Japan Airlines fell 1.0 percent and ANA Holdings dropped 0.6 percent.

The broader Topix slid 0.1 percent to 1,723.60. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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