August 13, 2019 / 6:49 AM / 4 months ago

Japan stocks slip to 1-week low on global political risks, firmer yen

TOKYO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares shed more than 1% on Tuesday, the first trading day after a long weekend, hurt by fresh jitters about the U.S.-China trade war, turmoil in Hong Kong and a firmer yen that hit cyclical sectors and exporters.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.1% to 20,455.44, its lowest level in a week, while the broader Topix lost 1.2% to 1,486.57.

As the market reopened, investors weighed news over the weekend, which had already dented overseas share markets.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he was not ready to make a deal with China and even called a September round of trade talks into question, reviving concerns the dispute is unlikely to end any time soon.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Sunday it no longer expects a trade deal before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Escalating protests in Hong Kong, which caused the shutdown of its busy airport on Monday, also dampened sentiment.

Of Tokyo’s 33 subindexes, 32 were in the red, with cyclicals such as oil and coal products, iron and steel and mining sub-indexes the top three worst performing sectors, down 4.5%, 2.9% and 2.8%, respectively.

“While the trade war could quickly get a lot worse, Trump also has it within his power to let things improve suddenly, suggesting it is dangerous to be too short cyclicals,” said Nicholas Smith, Japan strategist at CLSA Securities.

The much stronger yen also soured sentiment and dragged down exporters, with Subaru Corp dropping 3.6% and TDK Corp slipping 3.1%.

In the currency market, the yen rose as high as 105.05 yen to the dollar over the long weekend. All else being equal, a stronger yen hurts on the profits of Japanese exporters.

With the busiest part of Japan’s April-June quarter earnings season wrapping up, reaction to earnings continued to dominate trading on Tuesday.

Bridgestone slid 3.2% after the tyre maker forecast full-year net profit through December would fall 1% to 290 billion yen ($2.75 billion), down from the previous forecast of 300 billion yen, citing a demand slowdown in North America.

JFE Holdings tumbled 6.3% after the steelmaker’s operating profit, excluding one-off gains or losses, tumbled 63% in the April-June quarter.

Japan Display Inc dived 7.1% after the cash-strapped liquid crystal display (LCD) maker for smartphones reported a 10th consecutive quarterly loss and a negative net worth, hit by weak iPhone sales at Apple Inc. ($1 = 105.43 yen) (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Borsuk)

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