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Japan stocks end lower amid U.S. Senate runoff uncertainty

TOKYO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks ended lower on Wednesday amid uncertainty about the results of U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia, while sentiment was also dented by a likely announcement of a state of emergency in Tokyo and surrounding cities later this week.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 0.38% to 27,055.94 after gaining as much as 0.17%. The broader Topix rose 0.28% to 1,796.18.

If Democrat challengers win, it would be easier for President-elect Joe Biden to pass big fiscal spending, which is generally considered a positive. A Democrat sweep could also make it easier for Biden to raise corporate taxes, a negative factor for stocks.

However, margins were razor thin and official results will not be known until the following day, leaving the outcome up in the air.

“If we get more clarity on what type of policies will emerge from a Biden administration as a result of the Georgia vote, then the trend for markets could change,” said Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

“I don’t expect a big sell-off, but Japanese stocks have already rallied so much last year that upside this year will be somewhat limited.”

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Sony Corp , down 2.27%, followed by Keyence Corp, losing 2.09%.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, up 4.04%, followed by Mizuho Financial Group Inc, gaining 3.09%.

There were 161 advancers on the Nikkei index against 60 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.04 billion, compared to the average of 1.18 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.V)

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