May 2, 2018 / 6:16 AM / a year ago

Japan's Nikkei slips ahead of Fed; automakers, Fujifilm retreat

TOKYO, May 2 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average slipped on Wednesday amid caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision and U.S. jobs data, although the dollar’s rise against the yen and positive sentiment toward tech stocks helped curb some of the losses.

The Nikkei ended the day down 0.16 percent at 22,472.78 and the broader Topix dropped 0.15 percent to 1,771.52.

Japanese markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday for public holidays, leaving Wednesday as the last day for investors to unwind some of their positions ahead of the Fed’s decision later in the global day. On Friday, U.S. jobs data will be released.

Automakers slipped after several posted weaker new U.S. vehicle sales in April with consumer demand in the world’s largest economy continuing to soften.

Toyota Motor Corp, which posted a 4.7 percent decline in April U.S. sales, slipped 0.4 percent. Nissan Motor Co dropped 2 percent after its April U.S. sales fell 28 percent and Honda Motor Co was down 2.3 percent after its April U.S. sales declined 9.2 percent.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp slid 5.4 percent after Xerox Corp said its CEO and several board members will step down to settle a suit brought by activist shareholders who had opposed a $6.1 billion deal with Fujifilm.

Technology firms were buoyant after Apple Inc’s March quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts.

Electronics parts manufacturer Murata Manufacturing Co gained 1.4 percent, electronic material maker TDK Corp climbed 0.8 percent and industrial tape and LCD manufacturer Nitto Denko Corp advanced 5 percent.

A weaker yen also helped exporter stocks. Chip equipment maker Advantest Corp rose 2.2 percent. Construction machinery maker Takeuchi Mfg Co gained 1.5 percent and printer manufacturer Seiko Epson Corp added 3.3 percent.

Of Tokyo’s 33 subsectors, 20 were in the red, with oil and coal products leading the decliners after an overnight slide by crude prices to two-week lows.

Petroleum and natural gas developer Inpex Corp shed 2.4 percent, refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co lost 5.6 percent and petroleum and metals conglomerate JXTG Holdings Inc was down 3.1 percent. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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