May 15, 2020 / 7:37 AM / 15 days ago

Nikkei logs first weekly loss in 3 as U.S.-China tensions weigh

SYDNEY, May 15 (Reuters) - Tokyo shares rebounded on Friday after three straight sessions of losses, but logged their first weekly decline in three as investor sentiment took a hit following a deterioration in U.S.-China relations.

The benchmark Nikkei average ended 0.6% higher at 20,037.47, with recently-battered cyclical sectors leading gains. For the week, the index lost 0.7%.

The broader Topix added 0.5% to end at 1,453.77, with more than two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange finishing higher. For the week, the index fell 0.3% and recorded its first weekly decline in three.

Showing signs of more cracks in the U.S.-China relationship, President Donald Trump said he was very disappointed with China’s failure to contain COVID-19 and suggested he could even cut ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

Investors now eye Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) data for the January-March quarter, which, according to a Reuters poll, likely shrank for a second straight quarter.

On the demand front, data from Japan Exchange Group showed that foreign investors were net sellers of Japanese stocks last week for the 13th consecutive week, the longest streak ever.

Recently-battered cyclical sectors, mining, sea transport and machinery, were among the top-performing sub-indexes on the main bourse.

Semiconductor-related companies were in demand following a 2.8% gain overnight in the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index .

Chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron Ltd rose 2.0% and test device maker Advantest Corp climbed 3.3%.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd rallied 3.9% on news reports that the Japanese automaker may be looking at the possibility of closing its Barcelona factory, possibly shifting its production to Renault plants.

Bucking the overall market trend, Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd tumbled 8.8% after the company cut its full-year dividend outlook and forecast a 25.9% fall in net profit for this business year to March 2021. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Uttaresh.V)

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