Nikkei ends down for third day as Ukraine jitters weigh in

TOKYO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei stock index fell for a third straight session on Monday as lingering concerns over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed investors away from riskier assets.

The Nikkei stock average (.N225) closed down 0.76% at 26,910.67, erasing most of the 2.11% decline in early trade, after reports of a potential top between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin eased market nerves.

However, the number of falling stocks was four times higher than that of rising stocks, with industrial and basic materials companies leading the losses.

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The broader Topix (.TOPX) fell 0.71% to end at 1,910.68, after slipping as high as 1.83% earlier. Growth stocks suffered larger declines, with a stock index (.TOPXG) down 0.91% compared to a 0.53% decline for value stocks (.TOPXV).

Biden and Putin have agreed in principle to a summit on Ukraine, the US and French leaders said, after a week of heightened tensions spurred by Russia’s military buildup all around the Ukrainian border. A decision on the summit will be made after a meeting between the two nations’ foreign ministers next week. Read more

“There is still so much uncertainty, including whether this summit will actually happen,” leading to deep-rooted caution among investors, a trader at a national securities firm said.

“Let’s see what happens at the foreign ministers’ meeting first.”

Chipmakers declined, with Tokyo Electron (8035.T) down 2.94% to become the biggest drag on Nikkei. Advantest and Renesas (6723.T) lost 1.88% and 2.11% respectively.

Sony Group (6758.T) slipped 1.53% and Nintendo (7974.T) fell 1.19%.

Sharp Corp (6753.T) fell 10.12% and was Nikkei’s biggest decliner, after the electronics maker announced it had replaced its CEO.

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Tokyo Markets Team Reports; edited by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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