July 3, 2019 / 6:26 AM / 3 months ago

Japan shares fall on profit-taking, REIT index hits highest in 3 years

* Dollar/yen back to mid-107 yen zone, hurts exporters

* Cyclical shares lead losses; Fast Retailing jumps

* TSE’s REITs index hits more than 3 year-high

* Investors on sidelines ahead of U.S. holiday, jobs data

By Tomo Uetake

TOKYO, July 3 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks retreated on Wednesday, pressured by a stronger yen and profit taking among exporter stocks and other cyclical names ahead of an upcoming U.S. holiday and employment data.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei share average ended 0.5% lower at 21,638.16 points, just below its two-month high touched on Tuesday.

“Equities have lost their shine as post-G20 euphoria faded quickly,” said Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.

“Traders moved to lock in profits and to the sidelines before the (U.S.) Independence Day and key data releases.”

U.S. financial markets will have a half day of trading on Wednesday and a full day off on Thursday for the Independence Day holiday. On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department is due to release non-farm payrolls data for June.

The stronger yen hit cyclical stocks, particularly export-oriented firms.

Nissan Motor dropped 2.1%, Mitsubishi Motors fell 1.5%, Mazda Motor shed 1.6% and Honda Motor declined 1.7%, while Advantest Corp tumbled 4.7%.

The dollar fell 0.2% against the yen was last traded at 107.67 yen.

Japanese exporters are sensitive to gains in the yen, which tend to dent profits by making their products more expensive abroad and slashing the value of repatriated earnings.

A fall in crude oil prices also caused investors to sell energy shares, with the country’s biggest oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp slipping 2.4%.

Index heavyweight Fast Retailing soared 2.7% after the clothing chain operator announced its Uniqlo same-store sales rose 27.3% in June from a year earlier, the biggest year-on-year growth in six years.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s REIT index advanced 0.3% to hit its highest level since April 2016, supported by institutional buying.

The broader Topix dropped 0.7% to 1,579.54. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sam Holmes & Kim Coghill)

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