April 12, 2018 / 6:27 AM / a year ago

Nikkei down on Syria woes, earnings drive the retail sector

TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks pulled back on Thursday as worries about possible U.S. military action against Syria curbed investor risk appetite, while earnings reports kept the retail sector in the spot light.

The Nikkei share average ended Thursday down 0.1 percent at 21,660.28.

There were 57 advancers on the benchmark index against 159 decliners.

Investors were generally cautious as tensions ran high after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack.

Domestically the retail sector was in focus on the back of their earnings releases.

Convenience store operator Lawson Inc tumbled 4.9 percent after the company forecast an 8.8 percent drop in its operating profit year through February 2019 as it continued to invest in new businesses.

On the other hand, supermarket operator Aeon climbed more than 4 percent after it posted a record annual operating profit and forecast a further gain.

Household goods retailer Ryohin Keikaku jumped more than 5 percent with the company expecting a 10.6 percent rise in its net profit for the year through February 2019 thanks to strength in domestic and overseas businesses.

Other winners included mining shares, driven by crude oil prices racing to its highest since late 2014, though airlines shares fell on worries about higher fuel charges.

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co gained 3 percent and Japan Drilling Co rose 5.2 percent.

Japan Airlines fell 1.2 percent and ANA Holdings dropped 0.7 percent.

The broader Topix slid 0.4 percent to 1,718.52. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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