Japanese shares dip on US Fed’s gloomy economic outlook

Japanese shares ended lower on Thursday, tracking Wall Street’s losses, as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes showed that policymakers were concerned about the uncertain path of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark Nikkei share average fell 1% to 22,880.62, its lowest since August 12.

The broader Topix lost 0.9% to 1,599.20, also hitting a one-week low.

All but three of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower.

The market’s losses were extended in the afternoon, taking cues from weaker Asian peers and e-mini futures for the S&P 500.

“With earnings season over, the market is waiting for new factors,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

Minutes from the Fed’s July 28-29 meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers judged that the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labour market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.

Following the Fed’s minutes, Wall Street retreated to close lower, while the dollar put on the biggest one-day surge since March.

The yen weakened to last trade at 106.05 per dollar, which, analysts said, supported the Japanese market from further declines.

Shares of semiconductor-related companies underperformed, as investors worried over Washington’s expansion of curbs on China’s Huawei , while the Philadelphia semiconductor index lost 0.63% overnight.

Screen Holdings Co Ltd slumped 5.18%, while Tokyo Electron Ltd and Advantest Corp fell 3.32% and 3.59%, respectively.

The Mothers Index of start-up firms’ shares lost 0.98%, a day after it rallied to a two-year high.

Panasonic rose 1.51% following media reports of the company’s $100 million investment to boost its battery production capacity for Tesla.

Hitachi Metals soared 7.2% after Nikkei Business reported about Hitachi Ltd’s plan to sell the company. Hitachi Ltd edged up 0.68%.