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Japanese shares end lower as China stocks, U.S. bond yields weigh

TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters) - Japanese shares snapped early gains to end lower on Tuesday, tracking lacklustre performance in Chinese markets as investors locked in profit on a recent rally in some mainland firms, while the volatility of U.S. bond yields also dampened risk appetite.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.61% to close at 28,995.92, while the broader Topix declined 0.94% to 1,971.48.

“The retreat in the afternoon is simply due to the outside factors, such as declines in China stocks and U.S. futures,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“Investors held their bets as they are still cautious about the direction of the U.S. bond yields.”

Treasury yields dipped on Monday, but held near more than one-year highs as investors bet on a faster U.S. economic recovery and higher inflation pressures.

Nikkei heavyweights SoftBank Group fell 0.9% and Fast Retailing lost 0.1%.

Persistent worries of policy tightening in China also continued to weigh on high-flying sectors and stocks with lofty valuations as investors turned cautious.

Companies that rely on China slumped, with robot maker Fanuc losing 1.53% and construction machinery maker Komatsu shedding 1.24%.

Japan Exchange Group jumped 2.78% after the operator of the Tokyo Stock Exchange raised its full-year net profit forecast to 51.5 billion yen ($473.17 million) from 45.5 billion yen.

Stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Nintendo up 1.59 %, followed by Seven & i Holdings, up 1.23%.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Central Japan Railway, which lost more than 3% each, were the worst performers among the Topix 30.

The largest percentage gainers in the Nikkei index were Japan Exchange Group, followed by Canon gaining 1.95 % and Shionogi & Co up 1.76%.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, down 7.21 %, was the biggest loser in the Nikkei, followed by Rakuten losing 6.69 % and Mitsui OSK Lines falling 5.82 %. (Reporting by Junko Fujita, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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