October 17, 2019 / 2:59 AM / 8 months ago

Nikkei pauses after jump to 10-month high; chip-related stocks retreat

SYDNEY, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Japanese shares took a breather on Thursday, a day after rallying to more than 10-month highs, as investors waited for signs of progress on U.S.-China trade and Brexit negotiations.

The benchmark Nikkei average edged 0.1% higher to 22,503.97 by the midday break, holding within a tight range near its 10-month peak hit on Wednesday.

The broader Topix eased 0.2% to 1,628.16, not far from its highest since early December marked the previous day.

On Wednesday, Wall Street stocks lost ground after soft U.S. retail data, in a potential sign that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy. A solid start to the earnings season helped counter losses, but that was partly because markets had already marked down expectations.

As Britain and the European Union scrambled to secure a last-minute Brexit deal, investors digested mixed headlines on the likelihood of progress at a EU leaders summit in Brussels later on Thursday.

Japanese chip-related stocks fell, taking their cue from Wall Street peers as well as Dutch ASML, which dropped 4.5% as investors locked in profits after the semiconductor equipment maker announced better-than-expected results on Wednesday.

Tokyo Electron dropped 0.6% and Screen Holdings slid 1.5%.

Subaru fell 0.2% after the carmaker said it would suspend production at its Gunma factory until Oct. 24 due to supply disruptions caused by Typhoon Hagibis.

Elsewhere, commodity-related sectors fared worse. The non-ferrous metal and the iron and steel were among the worst performers in the Tokyo bourse’s 33 subsector indexes, down 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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