* Investors take profits on Fast Retailing after hitting record high
* Nidec’s earnings awaited on Tuesday
* Defensive stocks outperform
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei slipped on Tuesday as investors took profits on such recent gainers such as Fast Retailing and Yaskawa Electric, offsetting gains in oil shares which rallied after the U.S. abruptly moved to end all Iran sanctions waivers.
The Nikkei share average was down 0.3 percent at 22,159.78 points by mid-morning, after opening slightly higher.
Index-heavyweight Fast Retailing dropped 3.1 percent after it hit a record high on Monday and Yaskawa Electric tumbled 4 percent after it rose to a level not seen since last June.
Traders said that investors had chased cyclical stocks higher over the past few weeks as risk sentiment recovered on better-than-expected Chinese economic data.
However, with Japanese companies releasing their annual results later this week and ahead of the 10-day Golden Week holiday, investors are pocketing profits from recent gainers, they said.
“Caution is rising before the earnings as investors focus on signs on whether Chinese demand is recovering,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities, adding that the market is sensitive before Nidec Corp’s results later in the day.
Nidec fell 1.2 percent.
On the other hand, the mining sector and oil sector outperformed, rising 3.1 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Inpex Corp soared 3.3 percent, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co jumped 4.2 percent, while Idemitsu Kosan gained 2.1 percent.
Oil prices hovered near 2019 peaks in early trading on Tuesday after Washington abruptly moved to end all Iran sanctions waivers by May, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.
Reflecting investors’ defensive stance, domestic-demand sensitive stocks outperformed, with utilities, drugmakers and railroad companies gaining ground.
Tokyo Electric Power Co rose 1.4 percent, Astellas Pharma soared 1.1 percent and West Japan Railway rose 1.2 percent.
The broader Topix was flat at 1,619.10. (Editing by Kim Coghill)