Japan stocks end lower on profit taking as investors await earnings

TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday as concerns about upcoming corporate earnings reports prompted some investors to take profits, with industrial and consumer discretionary sectors leading the decline.

The Nikkei index ended down 0.26% at 23,558.69, while the broader TOPIX fell 0.24% to 1,643.35.

Shares of Yaskawa Electric Corp were the biggest decliner on the Nikkei, sinking 5.43% after the industrial robot maker said on Friday it expects its dividend payments to fall by around half.

Analysts said the news also weighed on broader sentiment, with investors also reluctant to buy stocks due to uncertainty about the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3 and how that will affect economic policy.

“Yaskawa released their earnings early, and what they’ve done with their dividend puts a spotlight on whether other companies will follow suit,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“The Nikkei is already at a very high level, so investors are easily tempted to take profits.”

The second-biggest decliner in the Nikkei was engineering conglomerate JGC Holdings Corp losing 4.27%, followed by Citizen Watch Co Ltd down by 3.94%.

The largest percentage gainers in the index were healthcare services provider M3 Inc up 2.91%, followed by airline ANA Holdings Inc gaining 2.65%, and equity investor SoftBank Group Corp up by 2.64%

There were 59 advancers on the Nikkei index against 162 decliners.

Data earlier on Monday showed Japan’s core machinery orders - a leading indicator of capital expenditure - unexpectedly rose in August in a positive sign for the economy, but this did not help Japanese stocks.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.73 billion, compared with the average of 1.16 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Aditya Soni)

Nuestros Estándares: Los principios Thomson Reuters.