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Japan Market falls on profit booking, ahead of US-China trade deal signing

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The Japan share market finished session lower on Wednesday, 15 January 2020, snapping a three-session winning streak, as investors booked profit after benchmark indices hitting a four-week high in the previous session. Meanwhile, selloff pressure mounted on caution ahead of the signing of a preliminary trade deal and after reports that the US would likely maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until after November presidential election. At closing bell, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average declined 108.59 points, or 0.45%, to 23,916.58, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange sank 9.47 points, or 0.54%, at 1,731.06.

Total 31 issues of the 33 industry category of Topix index dived into negative territory, with Nonferrous Metals, Mining, Electric Appliances, Marine Transportation, Machinery, and Securities & Commodities Futures issues being notable losers.

Phase one of the U. S.-China trade deal is set to be signed on Wednesday in Washington. As part of a U. S.-China trade deal, China will pledge to buy $200 billion of U. S. goods over a two-year period in four industries, according to several reports, in return the U.

S. will scrap a new round of tariffs and cut the tariffs on $120 billion worth of Chinese goods in half to 7.5 percent, but a 25% tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports will remain in place. The two sides have an understanding that no sooner than 10 months after the signing of the agreement at the White House Wednesday, the U. S. will review progress and potentially trim tariffs now in place on $360 billion of imports from China.

Meanwhile, reports released on Tuesday stated existing tariffs on Chinese imports would likely stay in place until after the U. S. elections in November and any reduction would depend on Chinese compliance with the terms of the accord. U. S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there was no agreement in place with China on further tariff reductions, taking the shine out of market enthusiasm about the upcoming trade deal.

Investors took profits from recent gainers such as Sony and SoftBank, which fell 1.2% and 0.9% respectively.

Toho fell 4.2% to become the top decliner on the Nikkei after the film and entertainment company's earnings in the three months to January fell short of investors' strong expectations.

Ryohin Keikaku fell 3.2% the operator of Muji brand shops cut its earnings forecast due to a slump in South Korea and Hong Kong businesses.

Square Enix Holdings dropped 4.9% after the game company announced a delay in the launch of a new game.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, little changed against dollar. The Japanese yen changed hands at 109.92 per dollar, strengthening from around 110.01.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 15 2020. 12:59 IST