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Japan stocks fall as U.S. stimulus hopes fade, yen firms

TOKYO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Thursday as fading hopes for a new round of U.S. fiscal stimulus hit sentiment, while a stronger yen weighed on exporters.

The Nikkei index fell 0.38% to 23,537.52 by 0204 GMT, with the telecommunications and healthcare sectors leading the decline. The broader Topix fell 0.39% to 1,637.44.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said reaching a compromise with the Democrats on a fiscal stimulus was unlikely before elections on Nov. 3, raising concerns about the economic outlook for an economy reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stocks in Japan also weakened as the yen edged higher against the dollar, which tends to reduce overseas earnings for the country’s exporters.

The biggest underperformers among the top 30 core Topix names were venture capitalist SoftBank Group Corp down 1.95%, followed by electronic parts maker Keyence Corp losing 1.63%.

The stocks that gained the most among the Topix 30 were insurer Tokio Marine Holdings Inc up 1.05%, followed by electronic parts maker Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd rising 1.28%.

There were 115 advancers on the Nikkei index against 102 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.33 billion, compared with the average of 1.11 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Aditya Soni)