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Nikkei edges down in choppy trade; glass sector outperforms


TOKYO, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average edged down in choppy trade on Wednesday morning as stocks tracked the volatile currency market, while the glass manufacturing sector outperformed on brisk earnings results.

The Nikkei dropped 0.1 percent to 18,892.69, having dabbled in positive territory earlier in the trading session.

The dollar fell 0.2 percent against 112.20 yen in Asian trade, after edging up to 112.54 yen earlier while investors awaited a meeting between U.S.-Japan leaders.

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the U.S. later this week. Market participants await remarks on currencies or on Japan’s fiscal or monetary policies that might emerge from their meeting, although trade and defense issues are likely to be in the spotlight.

“The Japanese market has been sensitive to the dollar-yen moves even more so since the beginning of the year,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management. “Overall, investors’ risk averse stance will likely continue due to political and economic uncertainties in the U.S. and Europe.”

Meanwhile, traders said investors remain focused on companies’ earnings results and forecasts.

The glass sector subindex rose 2.
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2 percent and was the best performer on the board after Asahi Glass Co surged more than 8 percent after raising its full-year forecast and announced a share buy back plan.

Toy maker Tomy Co. rose 3.5 percent after it increased its profit forecasts for the year ending March helped by strong toy sales with high profit margins in the domestic market.

Meanwhile, Fujitsu Ltd dropped 3.1 percent after its biggest shareholder said it would sell about $1 billion worth of the Japanese electronics conglomerate’s stock.

The broader Topix was flat at 1,516.76 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.1 percent to 13,607.61.

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