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Nikkei falls to two-week low as Apple warning hurts technology stocks

TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell to two-week low on Tuesday, dragged down by tech companies after Apple Inc warned it was unlikely to meet its sales target for the March quarter as the coronavirus outbreak hurt production and demand in China.

The Nikkei average fell 1.2% to 23,237.44 points by the midday break, its lowest level since Feb. 4, and the broader Topix dropped 1.2% to a two-week low of 1,667.72.

All but one of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange were trading lower, with precision machinery , metal products and electric machinery being the worst three performers.

Apple told investors late on Monday that its manufacturing facilities in China that produce iPhone and other electronics have begun to re-open, but are ramping up slower than expected.

Among its Japanese suppliers, electric parts maker Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd shed 3.4% and Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd , which produces ceramic capacitors for iPhones, lost 4.1%.

Also hurting market sentiment was news that the Trump administration was considering changing U.S. regulations to allow it to block shipments of chips to Huawei Technologies from companies such as Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker.

Tokyo-listed semiconductor equipment supplier Tokyo Electron Ltd tumbled 4.7%, while semiconductor test equipment maker Advantest Corp plummeted 6.5%.

Elsewhere, Asics Corp, one of the sponsors of Tokyo Marathon, slid 4.7% after organisers of the March 1 race said the 38,000 general participants who signed up for the event will not be allowed to compete, citing coronavirus fears. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Arun Koyyur)