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Nikkei lower as investors fear US slowdown

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Aug 9 (Reuters) The Nikkei average fell 0.53 percent on Wednesday, with shares of Sony Corp. and other exporters declining as investors continued to worry about slower growth in the key U.S. market.

Concerns about a slowdown in the world's biggest economy overshadowed the Federal Reserve's decision to leave interest rates unchanged, ending a series of consecutive rate increases stretching back more than two years.

''The U.S. economy is without a doubt slowing down,'' said Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

''For Japan, this could mean that the economy here will enter into a soft patch. We don't know.'' The Nikkei was down 81.65 points at 15,383.01 as of 0100 GMT.

The broader TOPIX index was down 0.46 percent at 1,555.47.

Shares of companies that rely on U.S. demand were among the decliners.

Sony Corp. fell 1.5 percent to 5,100 yen. Office-equipment maker Canon Inc. dropped 1.1 percent to 5,420 yen.

Shares of Hokuetsu Paper Mills Ltd. declined 2.8 percent to 831 yen.

Nippon Paper Group Inc. said on Tuesday it had completed its purchase of Hokuetsu shares, raising its stake to 8.85 percent in order to block a takeover bid for Hokuetsu by industry leader Oji Paper Co. Ltd.

Reuters DH VP0705

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