March 27, 2017 / 3:07 AM / a year ago

Nikkei tumbles as safe-haven yen surges on Trump healthcare reform rout

* Dollar at weakest levels vs yen since November

* Trump’s healthcare defeat weighs on greenback

TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average skidded on Monday, battered by a resurgent yen and deepening last week’s 1.3 percent loss.

The dollar came under pressure after the defeat of President Donald Trump’s healthcare package on Friday, raising concerns that his promised stimulus steps could face similar political roadblocks.

The greenback fell as low as 110.42 yen against the perceived safe-haven Japanese currency, its weakest level since late November.

The Nikkei was down 1.5 percent at the end of morning trade at 18,970.79. It is 0.8 percent lower for the month so far.

“At a time when there is some degree of policy uncertainty that has emerged in the United States, questions about the timing of when the Trump administration can implement its agenda may be all feeding through into a period of ‘risk off,’” said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

“The end of the financial year is always a factor with regard to Japan to consider,” he added, referring to Japan’s business year which closes at the end of this month. “The extent to which that may be contributing to yen strength is a possible factor.”

On the domestic side, Bank of Japan board members said easy monetary policy will be in place for some time because consumer price growth is far off the central bank’s 2 percent inflation target, a summary of opinions from their March 15-16 meeting showed on Monday.

An overwhelming majority of Japanese companies said they will raise wages at a slower pace than they did last year, a Reuters poll found, frustrating Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempts to boost the sluggish economy via higher wages and consumption.

Shares in brokerage firms dropped in line with the broader market downturn, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s securities subindex down 2.7 percent.

Shares in Toshiba Corp were down 5.7 percent at midday. They initially rose more than 3 percent in early trade after a report that U.S. unit Westinghouse Electric Co could file for bankruptcy protection as early as Tuesday and is seeking support from South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp 015760.KS.

Dentsu Inc shares slipped 2.4 percent after notching one-month lows. The advertising group said on Friday that it will submit an internal control report to the finance ministry for the year ended December 2016, as it found that it overestimated fair value in acquisition of Merkle Group Inc.

The broader Topix was down 1.4 percent at 1,522.84, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also shed 1.4 percent to 13,612.58. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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