Japan's Nikkei tracks Wall Street lower on Fed's rate hike bets

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 01/11/22 01:41 AM EST

By Junko Fujita

TOKYO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index ended about 1% down on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street's weak finish overnight amid caution about the U.S. Federal Reserve's possible rate increase as soon as March, while higher Treasury yields drove a sell-off in technology shares.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.9% to close at 28,222.48, while the broader Topix slipped 0.44% to 1,986.82.

"The Japanese market was dragged down by Wall Street's weak finish for two consecutive sessions and investor sentiment was cautious regarding U.S. monetary policy outlook," Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities, said.

U.S. stocks fell overnight, as bets that the Fed could raise interest rates as soon as March led investors to pare risky assets and lifted the 10-year Treasury yield to a two-year high.

"It is hard to make active bets ahead of the CPI data to be released in the U.S.," Arisawa added.

U.S. December consumer inflation data is due to be released on Wednesday, with headline CPI seen coming in at a red-hot 7% on a year-on-year basis, boosting the case for an early increase in interest rates.

Technology shares dragged the Nikkei lower, with chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron (TOELF) losing 3.34%, global technology start-up investor SoftBank Group (SFTBF) falling 2.35% and sensor maker Keyence (KYCCF) down 7.89%.

Nippon Paint Holdings tumbled 12.28% after the maker of coating materials said its shareholders planned to sell its shares in a public market.

As investors continued to shift their money to larger companies amid rising rates in the U.S., high-end Japanese toaster maker Balmuda (BLMUF), which listed about two years ago, fell 5.8% after suspending sales of mobile phones that it unveiled in November.

Higher bond yields helped insurance and banks to advance 2.74% and 2.57%, respectively, while brokerages gained 2.19%.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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