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Roundup: Japan's Nikkei ends lower, Softbank Group's dive weighs

TOKYO, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock index closed lower Monday as investors opted to secure gains from the previous session’s two-month high, with heavyweight SoftBank Group’s dive contributing to losses.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 300.10 points, or 1.06 percent, from Friday to close the day at 27,963.47.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, fell 20.86 points, or 1.05 percent to finish at 1,956.90.

Local brokers said amid a lack of fresh trading cues, investors opted to lock in gains made from the Nikkei climbing almost 3 percent to a two-month high on Friday.

“Along with profit-taking, a sell-off in SoftBank Group is a major factor contributing to Monday’s fall,” Masahiro Yamaguchi, head of investment research at SMBC Trust Bank, was quoted as saying.

By the close of play, information and communication, nonferrous metal, and pulp and paper issues comprised those that declined the most.

Nikkei’s heavyweight SoftBank Group dragged the broader market lower and marked its biggest slump in more than two-and-a-half years, after the tech startup investor reported a net loss of 129.10 billion yen (921.56 million U.S. dollars) for the six months till September.

The losses were a result of its Vision Fund investment unit booking a loss for the third straight quarter.

“The outlook for IT companies is dim amid a slowing global economy. Expectations for SoftBank Group’s growth have been shrinking as there is a concern that the value of its portfolio companies may not grow in this environment,” Shigetoshi Kamada, general manager with Tachibana Securities’s research department, was quoted as saying.

With the dollar coming under pressure amid speculation, the U.S. Federal Reserve may ease its aggressive interest rate hikes as soaring inflation in the U.S. has shown embryonic signs of cooling, negatively impacting domestic exporter issues, market strategists said.

Exporters cheer a weaker yen versus its major counterparts, which was not the case today, as profits made overseas are boosted when repatriated and price-competitiveness is enhanced in overseas markets, they added.

Automakers were among export-oriented issues, with Honda Motor losing 1.0 percent and Suzuki Motor closed 2.8 percent lower.

Other notable decliners included Dowa Holdings plummeting 14.2 percent, after the non-ferrous metal maker reported subpar earnings, and Olympus tumbling 10.8 percent, after revising down its operating profit forecast for the year in March.

Issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,326 to 471, while 39 ended the day unchanged.

On the Prime Market, 1,460.35 million shares changed hands on Monday, dropping from Friday’s volume of 1,743.68 million shares.

The turnover on the first trading day of the week came to 3,828.48 billion yen (27.33 billion dollars).