September 4, 2019 / 3:18 AM / 3 months ago

Japan stocks under pressure as U.S. data stokes recession fears

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average struggled for direction on Wednesday, while the broader Topix dipped after poor U.S. economic data stoked global recession fears and soured investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei average was little changed at 20,631.14 by the midday break, while the broader Topix fell 0.3% to 1,506.17.

Overall sentiment remained subdued amid growing worries about a global recession. U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years in August, with new orders and hiring declining sharply as trade tensions weighed on business confidence, data showed Tuesday.

Cyclical sectors came under pressure, with metal products , iron and steel and oil and coal products becoming the top three worst performing sectors on the Topix.

Nikkei heavyweight Fast Retailing gained 1.4% after the clothing chain operator said same-store sales at its Uniqlo outlets in Japan rose 9.9% in August from a year earlier.

Other notable movers include TSE REIT index, advancing 0.8%, moving closer to the 12-year peak hit two weeks ago.

Elsewhere, Kakaku.com climbed 2.6% and Nintendo jumped 2.9%, buoyed by hopes of a potential inclusion of the Nikkei average in the periodic review of its constituents. Other candidates Zozo and M3 were also in demand, adding 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively.

The review results of the Nikkei constituents are due as early as this week. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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