Japanese shares track Wall Street lower; tech, energy stocks slide

TOKYO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Japanese shares fell on Wednesday, after Wall Street declined for a third straight session overnight, with heavyweight technology and energy firms leading the losses.

The Nikkei share average was down 0.55% at 28,039.91 by the midday break, while the broader Topix lost 0.51% to 1,958.41.

U.S. stocks extended losses for a third straight day, as a rise in job openings fuelled fears that the Federal Reserve has another reason to maintain its aggressive interest rate hike path to combat inflation.

“Japanese equities tracked Wall Street’s third-straight losing session, but gains in U.S. futures limited the decline,” said Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura Securities.

“The impact of a better-than-expected factory output data was limited.”

Data showed Japan’s factories extended expansion in output to a second month in July, as motor vehicle production improved, marking a positive start to the third quarter for manufacturers and broader economic activity.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron lost 0.41% and silicon wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical slipped 1.33% and a robot maker Fanuc lost 0.62%.

Energy-related shares traded lower after oil prices dropped 5% on Tuesday, before recouping some losses in Asian trading hours on Wednesday.

Oil explorers were the top losers among Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes, with a 3.43% drop, followed refiners, which lost 2.85%.

Explorer Inpex fell 3.73% and was the top loser on the Nikkei, followed by refiner Idemitsu Kosan which fell 3.2%.

Transport shares led gains among the industry groups, with airlines rising 3.14% and railways gaining 1.14%.

ANA Holdings jumped 2.94%.

There were 67 advancers on the Nikkei index, against 155 decliners.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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