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Nikkei ends down, steel stocks drop

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, March 2 (Reuters) The Nikkei share average ended down 0.34 per cent on Thursday as investors sold shares in steel firms such as JFE Holdings Inc, which revised down its full-year forecast.

Falls in small-cap stocks, which often indicate retail investors' appetite for stocks, also set a bearish tone in the overall market.

Analysts said investors appeared to be holding back ahead of consumer price index data due on Friday as the Bank of Japan has said a steady rise in consumer prices, which gained for a second month in December, would be a precursor for a policy shift.

The Nikkei slipped 54.70 points to 15,909.76. The broader TOPIX index was down 0.21 percent at 1,632.24.

REUTERS KD SP1150

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