April 11, 2018 / 2:05 AM / 6 months ago

Nikkei pulls back from rally; SoftBank jumps on merger news

TOKYO, April 11 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged lower on Wednesday morning in choppy trade following a strong rally the previous day, but index-heavy SoftBank jumped after sources said that Sprint is in new talks to merge with T-Mobile.

The Nikkei shed 0.15 percent to 21,762.28 in midmorning trade after opening slightly higher. The market, along with a host of global risk assets, had a solid session on Tuesday after China's President Xi Jinping helped ease fears over a U.S.-China trade war.

Investors were keeping a wary eye on discussions between U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies on possible military action over a suspected poison gas attack on Saturday in Syria, allegedly ordered by President Bashar al-Assad.

Retail stocks lost ground after department store operator J.Front Retailing dived 12 percent after its profit forecast for this fiscal year undershot market expectations. Rival Takashimaya Co tumbled 3.2 percent.

Food shares also lost ground, with Kikkoman shedding 3.3 percent and Asahi Group sliding 1.9 percent.

SoftBank Corp, Sprint Corp's majority owner, jumped more than 5 percent in early trade after sources said that Sprint has restarted talks to merge with T-Mobile US Inc .

SoftBank was the most traded stock by turnover, contributing a hefty 40 points to the Nikkei index.

The broader Topix declined 0.1 percent to 1,731.13. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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