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By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO, April 6 (Reuters) - Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index ended slightly lower on Wednesday, marking its longest losing streak since the start of “Abenomics”, as the yen hovered near a 17-month high.
More than three years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a three-pronged stimulus and reform plan to revive the stagnant, deflationary economy, the country remains stuck in low gear.
Recent weak economic data have raised fears the economy may have slipped into its fourth recession in five years, with a resurgent yen adding to pressure on exporters.
“The market is now posing big questions about Abenomics,” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.1 percent to 15,715.36 points, its seventh consecutive losing session.
Shares of Inpex Corp ended 0.7 percent lower after Japan’s biggest oil and gas developer halved its full-year net profit estimate late on Tuesday due to the ongoing oil rout.
Several electric utility stocks bucked the risk-off mood after a court rejected an appeal that would have led to the shutdown of Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai nuclear reactors, Japan’s only operating units as it struggles to restore atomic power five years after the Fukushima crisis.
Kyushu Electric Power Co shares soared 7.2 percent while Hokkaido Electric Power Co ended 6.8 percent higher and Shikoku Electric Power Co gained 3.8 percent.
Shares of Kansai Electric Power Co, which last month filed an objection to a court ruling that closed two of its reactors due to safety concerns, climbed 3.5 percent.
The broader Topix slipped 0.1 percent to end the day at 1,267.75, with all but 12 of its 33 subindexes in negative territory.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 edged down 0.1 percent to 11,431.76. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Kim Coghill)