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Reuters

TOKYO — Japanese shares fell on Friday, hit by losses in technology heavyweights after the Nasdaq dropped 1% overnight as fears of inflation and higher interest rates dented risk appetite.

The Nikkei share average closed 0.9% lower at 27,522.26, after losing more than 2% earlier in the session. The broader Topix lost 0.59% to 1,927.18.

The Nikkei lost 2.1% for the week, its biggest in seven weeks, while the Topix fell 2.5% in its worst week in eight.

“The market tracked Wall Street and chip-related shares became a target of a sell-off after the Nasdaq’s losses,” said Kazuharu Konishi, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.

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“There will be no positive or negative comments on U.S. rates from Federal Reserve senior officials until the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) next week, so investors will remain cautious.”

Wall Street’s main indexes closed sharply lower overnight, as investors considered whether equities were bargains after a sell-off to start the year that has seen the Nasdaq fall into correction territory.

Chip-related stocks led the losses, with Tokyo Electron losing 6.2%, Advantest dropping 3.98% and Shin-Etsu Chemical shedding 2.07%.

Toyota Motor fell 2.48% after the automaker said it would slow production at as many as 11 plants in Japan because of rising COVID-19 infections among its workers and those at parts suppliers.

As the coronavirus infections surge to a record, Japan’s western prefecture of Osaka and two neighboring regions are expected to join in a widening declaration of COVID prevention measures, which already cover the capital Tokyo and a dozen other regions.

Despite the expected wider curb, airline and railway shares were the top gainers among the exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes, gaining 3.84% and 1.54%, respectively.

ANA Holdings jumped 3.73% and Keisei Electric Railway advanced 3.48%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu)

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