Nikkei slips, investors wary before Jackson Hole event, G7 summit

By Tomo Uetake

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japanese shares dropped on Wednesday as renewed worries about a global recession weighed on risk assets, while the U.S.-China trade war and political uncertainty in Italy and Britain added to the general air of caution in markets.

The Nikkei share average took its cue from Wall Street's selloff overnight and fell 0.3% to 20,618.57. Trading remained subdued as key events due later in the week kept many investors on the sidelines.

In particular, investors are focusing on comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium on Friday and the Group of Seven (G7) summit, to be held in southwestern France on Aug 24-26, for any signals of further support steps to boost economic growth.

In New York, all three major stock indexes retreated on Tuesday to end a three-day rally, with financial shares leading the losses.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had to confront China over trade even if it caused short-term harm to the U.S. economy because Beijing had been cheating Washington for decades.

Concerns about Italy's political chaos and Britain's tumultuous exit from the European Union also have made investors wary.

The broader Topix shed 0.6% to 1,497.51, with all but one of Tokyo's 33 subindexes finishing in negative territory.

A notable mover was benchmark Nikkei's heavyweight SoftBank Group, which slid 2.9% to become the most traded stock on the main board.

Traders said markets are still assessing the Wall Street Journal's weekend report of the firm's plan to lend employees up to $20 billion to invest in its Vision Fund 2.

Rate-sensitive TSE REIT index dipped 0.3%, snapping its eight-day winning streak, but still not far from its 12-year peak.

Elsewhere, convenience store operators sagged after industry data showed their all-store sales for July dropped 0.6% from the previous year for the first year-on-year decline in 6-1/2 years.

Seven & i Holdings shed 1.6%, while FamilyMart UNY Holdings and Lawson were down 1.8% and 0.7%, respectively.

"There appeared to be some sector rotation by fund managers. As the trading session proceeded, some buying emerged in sectors such as technology, auto and machinery," said Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.

(Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore & Shri Navaratnam)

2019-08-21 08:44:09

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