Japan shares end flat as economic uncertainty around U.S. stimulus weighs

TOKYO, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Japanese shares ended little changed on Wednesday, as fears of a slower economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis resurfaced after U.S. President Donald Trump halted talks for an additional stimulus package until after the election.

The benchmark Nikkei share average was little changed at 23,422.82 at the close, while the broader Topix was almost flat at 1,646.47.

Nearly a third of 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower, with pharmaceuticals, fisheries and forestry and foods leading the decliners on the main bourse.

Prospects for additional U.S. coronavirus bill crumbled after Trump announced on Twitter that he was calling off negotiations with Democratic lawmakers on coronavirus relief legislation until after the election.

Also weighing on the market was the uncertainty of Trump’s health, with the U.S. presidential election just less than a month away.

“In some part, I think President Trump is forcing himself too hard since he has left the hospital in a short period of time,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“It would be crucial to be cautious of how his health progresses from now on.”

Boeing-related shares Mitsubishi Heavy Industries fell 0.74%, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries was down 0.14%, in line with their U.S. peers as Boeing Co cut its rolling 20-year forecast for airplane demand on the coronavirus crisis.

Yakult Honsha Co slipped 7.12% after French food group Danone said it would sell its remaining 500 million euro ($586.60 million) stake in the Japanese probiotic yogurt maker.

Elsewhere, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp jumped 3.31% and Fanuc inched up 0.1%, while Fujitsu lost 0.53% after the three firms said they would set up cloud service joint venture for manufacturing companies.

The Mothers Index of start-up firms climbed more than 2%. ($1 = 0.8524 euros)

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