November 21, 2019 / 3:26 AM / in 23 days

Nikkei slides to 3-week low on U.S.-China trade woes; tech stocks retreat

TOKYO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks tumbled on Thursday on concerns a preliminary trade deal between Washington and Beijing may not be completed this year, with a fresh row over U.S. legislation on Hong Kong potentially complicating their negotiations.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.2% to 22,872.03 by midday break, its lowest level since Nov. 1, and was on track for its biggest daily drop in seven weeks.

Overnight, Wall Street’s three main indexes fell, largely hurt by a Reuters report citing experts and people close to the White House as saying completion of a U.S.-China trade deal could slide beyond 2019.

Adding to the tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights.

Analysts said that a wave of profit-taking set in after the benchmark Nikkei fell below the psychological milestone at 23,000 and the key 25-day moving average, last stood at 23,009, in early trade.

Recent gainers, most notably semiconductor-related stocks, were on the retreat. Tokyo Electron slid 4.0%, Advantest dropped 3.1% and Screen Holdings dived 5.3%.

Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group fell 2.3% after media reported the tech conglomerate is in talks to receive about 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in financing from Japanese banks, led by Mizuho Financial Group. Mizuho’s shares dipped 0.7%.

The broader Topix declined 1.0% at 1,674.62, with all of its 33 sub-sectors in negative territory.

With the Topix index ending the morning session 1% lower, traders expect the Bank of Japan’s buying should lend some support to the stock market in the afternoon.

BOJ data released late Wednesday showed the central bank bought exchange traded funds (ETFs) for the first time in six weeks, apart from its daily purchases of ETFs to support capital spendings. ($1 = 108.4900 yen) (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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