TOKYO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended nearly unchanged on Tuesday ahead of Christmas holidays, as some investors booked profits to cash in on a recent rally sparked by a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal.
The Nikkei index closed up 0.04% at 23,830.58. The Nikkei has advanced 19% so far this year and many investors have been closing out positions this month to book gains on this rally.
Trading is expected to be subdued as many financial markets will start closing from Tuesday for Christmas holidays.
Japanese shares started higher, taking their lead from a record closing high on Wall Street on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump calmed nerves by saying Washington is on track to sign a deal with Beijing to de-escalate a bruising trade war.
However, gains in Japanese stocks quickly faded as the year-end holiday mood started to set in.
The broader Topix dipped 0.07% to 1,728.22, with decliners slightly outnumbering advancers by a ratio of 51 to 49. The turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was 1.286 trillion yen, the lowest level in more than four years.
Some technology shares continued to gain, including Taiyo Yuden, Yokogawa Electric and Advantest . They rose 2.5%, 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.
Insurers were among the biggest losers, with T&D Holdings falling 1.7%, Dai-ichi Life Holdings down 1.4% and Sompo Holdings losing 1.3%.
Reporting by Stanley White and Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich