Japanese stocks dip on profit-taking; Fast Retailing caps Nikkei losses

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SYDNEY, April 10 (Reuters) – Japanese shares dropped on Friday on profit-taking ahead of the weekend, with trading volume remaining low due to the Easter holidays abroad.

The benchmark Nikkei average slipped 0.1% to 19,326.78 by the midday break, despite overnight gains on Wall Street, as investors locked in some recent gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.2%, the S&P 500 gained 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.8% on Thursday.

Bucking the broader weakness in Japanese equities, Nikkei heavyweight Fast Retailing Co Ltd climbed 3.8% on earnings and forecast, helping to cap the benchmark’s loses.

The owner of casual clothing chain Uniqlo forecast a 44% fall in full-year profit after the coronavirus outbreak hit sales in China and dealt a setback to its ambitions of conquering the U.S. and European markets.

Analysts said the markets liked the fact that the fashion retailer provided a guidance, unlike many of its peers.

For the week, the Nikkei was up about 8.5%, which would be its second biggest weekly gain since July 2016 if sustained until the close.

The broader Topix fell 0.5% to 1,409.43, with all but four of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the exchange trading in negative territory.

Mining, air transport and rubber products were the worst three performing sectors on the main bourse.

Ryohin Keikaku Co Ltd shed 3.5% after the operator of Muji-brand retail stores reported its net profit for the business year ended in February fell 31%.

Overall activity was subdued, with the volume of shares traded on the main board valued at 1.04 trillion yen by the midday recess. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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