TOKYO — Japanese shares fell on Tuesday, as tensions between Beijing and Washington grew on news US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set to visit Taiwan during the day, while a firmer yen against the dollar prompted a sell-off in exporters.
The Nikkei fell 1.59% to 27,549.41 by the midday break, while the broader Topix dropped 1.81% to 1,924.55.
“There were several reasons for selling stocks to secure profits today. First, Wall Street was weak overnight. Also, investors were concerned about risks of worsening relationship between the US and China,” said Ikuo Mitsui, a fund manager at Aizawa Securities. “ Another one was the strengthening yen.”
Wall Street ended lower after a choppy session on Monday, with declines in Exxon Mobil and other energy companies weighing against gains in Boeing as investors digested the US stock market’s biggest monthly gains in two years.
Investors were worried about an escalation in Sino-US tensions with Pelosi set to begin a visit to Taiwan against the objections of China, which regards the self-governed island as a breakaway province.
Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron fell 2.51% and was the biggest drag on the Nikkei. Air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries lost 3.04% and robot maker Fanuc slipped 2.42%.
Toyota Motor slipped 2.08% and was the biggest drag on the Topix.
Automaker Hino Motors tumbled 9.45% following a report that the scope of its announced falsification of admissions data may be larger than previously expected.
Sensor and magnet maker TDK surged 11.47% after reporting a higher quarterly profit.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)