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Nikkei falls 0.6 pct after North Korea missile news

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, July 5 : The Nikkei average fell 0.58 percent on Wednesday as recent gainers such as Nomura Holdings Inc. lost ground, with investors worried about geopolitical risk in Asia after news North Korea launched several missiles early in the morning.

While the impact of the missile launches on Japan's economic fundamentals if any looks to be temporary, analysts said that how foreign investors react to the news was yet to be known after a U.S. market closure on Tuesday for the Independence Day holiday.

Foreign investors were the main driver of the Nikkei average's 40-percent rally last year.

''I think the news is negative as it reminds investors, including foreigners, of geopolitical risk, which has been behind the scenes for quite some time,'' said Goro Kumagai, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities.

''But the market so far is reacting calmly,'' he said.

The Nikkei was 91.41 points lower at 15,547.09 as of 0050 GMT. It had risen a total 5 percent in its previous four-day winning streak.

The TOPIX index lost 0.57 percent to 1,593.27.

Profit-taking hit brokerage shares with industry leader Nomura falling 1.6 percent to 2,195 yen.

The sector ISEUCU.was down 1.33 percent after rising a total 9.4 percent in the previous four sessions on brightening prospects for the Japanese economy and the stock market.

Shares of Fanuc Ltd., Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and other major exporters also declined as investors ignored the weaker yen following the missile launches and focused on geopolitical risk.

The yen slipped to around 115.05 to the dollar from around 114.55 in late European trade.

Industry robot maker Fanuc fell 1.5 percent to 9,920 yen and Honda, Japan's third-biggest auto maker, lost 1.6 percent to 3,620 yen.

Among the few gainers, Nippon Steel Corp. rose 2.1 percent to 441 yen after the world's third-biggest steel maker said on Tuesday it would buy back up to 100 billion yen worth of its shares, the equivalent of up to 3.67 percent of its outstanding stock.


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