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Japan’s Nikkei ends lower ahead of Fed meeting; earnings in focus


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TOKYO — Japan’s Nikkei share average ended lower, as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, and as corporate results showed mixed trends.

The Nikkei share average slipped 0.39% to finish at 27,327.11, after opening the session higher. The index posted a 4.72% monthly gain, the best since October.

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The broader Topix was down 0.36% to 1,975.27.

“Investors are cautious ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) and U.S. jobs data,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

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“At the peak of the earnings season in Japan, investors’ focus is on individual stocks rather than the overall move, which is why the market has no direction. Those with good outlook rose and those with dim fell.”

U.S. economic data scheduled to be released this week includes readings on consumer confidence, construction spending, and unemployment, and those are expected to factor into whether the Fed will conclude its rate hikes in March.

Among individual stocks, Canon lost 1.85% after the camera maker’s annual operating profit forecast disappointed investors.

Oriental Land jumped 3.45% after the operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort raised its annual net profit forecast.

Nissan Motor rose 2.07% after the Japanese automaker and its French partner Renault SA announced a sweeping overhaul of their two-decade-old alliance putting them on equal footing.

The banking sector lost 2.28% to become the worst sector of the 33 industry sub-indexes, followed by the oil explorers, which lost 1.83%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V and Eileen Soreng)


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