Nikkei ends lower for third day as Ukraine jitters weigh

TOKYO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock index fell for a third consecutive session on Monday, as sustained worries about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed investors away from riskier assets.

The Nikkei share average (.N225) closed down 0.76% at 26,910.67, paring most of the 2.11% drop in early trade, after reports of a potential summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin soothed market nerves.

However, the number of declining stocks were four times more than shares that rose, with industrial and basic material companies leading losses.

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The broader Topix (.TOPX) fell 0.71% to end at 1,910.68, after slipping as much as 1.83% earlier. Growth stocks suffered bigger declines, with an index of the shares (.TOPXG) falling 0.91% compared to a 0.53% slide for value shares (.TOPXV).

Biden and Putin have agreed in principle to a summit over Ukraine, U.S. and French leaders said, following a week of heightened tensions spurred by Russia's military buildup all around the Ukrainian border. A decision on the summit will be taken after a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two nations next week. read more

"There is still so much that is uncertain, including whether this summit will actually go ahead," leading to deep-rooted caution among investors, a trader at a domestic securities firm said.

"Let's see what happens at the foreign ministers' meeting first."

Chipmakers declined, with Tokyo Electron (8035.T) dropping 2.94% to become the biggest drag on Nikkei. Advantest and Renesas (6723.T) lost 1.88% and 2.11%, respectively.

Sony Group (6758.T) slid 1.53% and Nintendo (7974.T) fell 1.19%.

Sharp Corp (6753.T) tumbled 10.12% and was the biggest decliner on Nikkei, after the electronics maker announced it replaced its chief executive officer.

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Reporting by Tokyo markets team; editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich

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