Nikkei hits a one-week low as chipmakers and banks fall

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Japan’s Nikkei average hit a one-week low on Thursday, as chip-linked stocks tumbled, trailing their US counterparts and banks plunging after Mizuho Financial Group trimmed earnings forecasts.

The Nikkei closed down 0.65 percent at 21,456.01, after dropping the benchmark to 21,402.12, its lowest level since Feb. 28.

As the US stock market fell for a third day on Wednesday night, Japanese markets also succumbed to selling pressure after rising to a three-month high earlier in the week.

“Selling for profit taking is logical now as ongoing US-China trade talks, a major concern for the market, do not give signs of an exit plan while the market has gone smoothly for the last two months,” said Hikaru Sato, technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Leading chip manufacturers Advantest Corp and Tokyo Electron fell 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent respectively. Shares of silicon maker Sumco Corp. fell 6.1 percent.

Japan’s high-tech stocks fell as Philadelphia’s semiconductor index fell for a second straight day on Wednesday, led by the waning Micron share.

Micron dropped after Cleveland Research trimmed earnings estimates and current year earnings for the semiconductor maker because of weaker estimates of the price forecast for the Derm and Nand memory units in the first and second quarters of the year.

Among the 33 sectors on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 28 of them ended lower today.

Bank shares fell after Mizuho Financial Group lowered its full-year profit forecast to 86 percent, citing a 680 billion yen ($ 6 billion) non-recurring restructuring costs in its banking and brokerage units and changes in its portfolio.

Mizuho lost 1.5 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 1.6 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 1.7 percent.

The broader TOPIX index <.TOPX> was down 0.84 percent at 1,601.66.

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