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Nikkei dips as SoftBank Group tumbles after Nasdaq rout

TOKYO, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei average dipped on Monday following a fall in Wall Street shares while SoftBank Group sank as news revealed it had made massive bets on U.S. technology shares just as a rally in the sector cooled off.

The Nikkei was down 0.34% at 23,126.92, while the broader Topix was down 0.21% at 1,613.19, with both indexes staying off their six-month highs touched last Thursday.

“Because the market had risen by factoring all the positive factors ranging from more stimulus and vaccine developments, it is hard from here to advance further,” said Daisuke Uchiyama, senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

Concerns about high valuations sent Wall Street’s tech-heavy Nasdaq sharply lower during the last two sessions, its biggest setback after almost six months of strong gains.

In Japan, SoftBank Group sank 6.6% to a two-month low. The company made significant option purchases during the run-up in the U.S. stock market in recent weeks as a way of temporarily investing some proceeds from asset sales, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Mobile phone carriers such as KDDI, SoftBank Corp and NTT DoCoMo fell between 0.7% and 1.4% as Yoshihide Suga, who is expected to win a ruling party leadership election next week to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been calling for lower mobile tariffs.

Bank shares rose 0.5%, with Aomori Bank and Michinoku Bank adding 6.1% and 9.6%, respectively, after local media reported that the two banks based in northern Japan were discussing business integration.

Although the banks said a decision has not been made, the news fanned hopes for more mergers in Japan’s crowded banking sector.

Industry robot maker Fanuc jumped 6.9% after business daily Nikkei reported the company plans to triple output of a type of factory robot due to increased automation demand following the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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