Japanese stocks fell on Monday as heightened uncertainty over the US presidential election kept investors on edge, while Japan’s three major shippers jumped after news that they will merge their container shipping businesses. The Nikkei fell 0.5 percent to 17,353.04 by midmorning, after ending at a six-month high on Friday. US shares fell and the dollar dropped on Friday on news that the FBI will review more emails related to a private server that had been used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
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“Investors are more worried about the outcome of the US election than before. Everyone is uncertain, and uncertainty is usually bad for the stock market,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Investors see Clinton as the candidate of the status quo, while there is greater uncertainty over what a victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump might mean for US foreign policy, international trade deals and the global financial market.
The dollar slipped to 104.62 yen, down slightly from late US levels and off Friday’s three-month high of 105.54.
Most sectors were in negative territory.
Mining and resources shares took a hit, with Inpex Corp falling 2.0 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co shedding 2.6 percent after oil prices extended declines on Monday after non-OPEC producers made no specific commitment to join OPEC in limiting oil output levels to prop up prices.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co tumbled 3.2 percent after the company’s second quarter earnings disappointed the market.
SMBC Nikko Securities said that the first impression of Takeda’s April-Sept results was negative, with its operating profit standing at 162.1 billion yen, falling short of market consensus of 177.9 billion yen.
On the other hand, Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd said they will merge container shipping operations as overcapacity and weak economic growth shake up the global industry.
Shares in the companies jumped almost 10 percent.
The broader Topix dropped 0.3 percent to 1,388.75 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.3 percent to 12,446.54.