TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average slid on Wednesday and looked set to snap a four-day winning streak amid fears of rising U.S. protectionism after President Donald Trump fired his secretary of state and was reportedly eyeing hefty tariffs on Chinese imports.
The Nikkei fell 1.0 percent to 21,759.41 points by midmorning, but stayed above its 25-day moving average of 21,672.00.
The broader Topix dropped 0.6 percent to 1,741.36, with 29 of its 33 subsectors falling.
Trump fired Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Separately, Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.
Short-term investors looked for bargains in recently-battered defense equipment stocks on speculation that the appointment of hawkish Pompeo could raise geopolitical tensions.
Ishikawa Seisakusho surged as much as 15 percent, Howa Machinery jumped as much as 11 percent, while Shigematsu Works soared 4.8 percent.
Wednesday’s losers included large cap stocks such as Fast Retailing and Tokyo Electron, falling 2.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Chip-related stocks, which had gained recently, also lost ground, with Advantest sliding 2.5 percent and Sumco tumbling 3.5 percent. (Editing by Kim Coghill)