April 20, 2017 / 6:23 AM / a year ago

Tokyo stocks end nearly flat as investors cautious ahead of French election

TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks ended nearly flat for a second day on Thursday as investors became cautious ahead of global risk events such as the first-round of French presidential elections at the weekend and mounting tensions over North Korea.

The Nikkei 225 share average ended 0.01 percent lower at 18,430.49 while the broader Topix gained 0.09 percent to 1,472.81.

Mining stocks Inpex Corp and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co underperformed, falling 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, after oil fell to a two-week low on Wednesday before recovering in Thursday’s Asian trade. It was hit by a surprising build in U.S. gasoline inventories and a rise in U.S. crude output.

Gainers included chip makers after Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan said that producers of flat-panel-display equipment posted 55.86 billion yen in orders in March and a book-to-bill ratio of 1.40, up 36.5 percent from the previous month.

Tokyo Electron Ltd rose 0.8 percent and Advantest Corp jumped 4.5 percent

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.05 percent to 13,180.06. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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