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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei index slid on Friday, in line with Wall Street’s declines overnight, on caution around prospects for an earlier-than-expected tapering of Federal Reserve stimulus.

The Nikkei shed 0.36% to end the day at 27,651.51, but that was off the morning’s low of 27,641.14. The broader Topix lost 0.34% to 1,928.77, also recovering partially from early losses.

Buyers who think stocks look like a bargain here came in, offering some support to the market, said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.

The Nikkei climbed 2.32% this week, the most since May, after bouncing off an almost eight-month low hit last week.

On Friday though, slides in Nikkei heavyweights weighed on the overall index, with Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing down 1.13% and medical supply maker Terumo Corp slumping 1.78%.

SoftBank Group fell 0.42%, Sony Group Corp declined 0.58% and Toyota Motor Corp dropped 0.49%.

Fears of a potential shift in the Fed policy prompted a broad but shallow sell-off on Wall Street overnight, with the central bank‘s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming due on Friday.

All three major US stock indexes closed lower, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notching their first session of fall in six.

Several Fed officials sounded hawkish on Thursday, with St. Louis Fed president James Bullard saying he expects a “good assessment” of where the economy stands in Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s keynote speech at the event.

Among bright spots in Japanese stocks were gains for chip-related shares, with Tokyo Electron climbing 0.88% and Advantest advancing 0.76%.

Shippers grabbed the top three spots in the list of gainers on the Nikkei. Mitsui OSK Lines surged 9.96%, Kawasaki Kisen jumped 7.34% and Nippon Yusen rallied 6.05%.

Sea transport was the Topix’s best-performing sub-sector, climbing 7.92%.

“The strength in shipping stocks, which are sensitive to the economic outlook, is psychologically providing a feeling of security,” said a market participant at another domestic securities firm. “Overall, the market isn’t suffering big losses.”


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