TOKYO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares fell on Thursday, tracking Wall Street lower, as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes showed that policymakers were concerned about the uncertain path of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The benchmark Nikkei share average fell 0.7% to 22,948.86 by the midday break, with 73 advancers on the index against 146 decliners.
The broader Topix lost 0.5% to 1,605.67. All but six of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded in negative territory, with real estate, electric appliances and metal products being the three worst performers.
Minutes from the Fed’s July 28-29 meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers judged that the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labour market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.
Following the Fed’s minutes, Wall Street retreated to close lower, while the dollar put on the biggest one-day surge since March.
The yen weakened to last trade at 106.09 per dollar, which analysts say supported the Japanese market from further declines.
Shares of semiconductor-related companies underperformed, as sentiment was hit after the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index lost 0.63% overnight.
Screen Holdings Co Ltd slipped 4.07%, while Tokyo Electron Ltd and Advantest Corp fell 2.16% and 2.65%, respectively.
The Mothers Index of start-up firm shares lost 0.88%, a day after it rallied to a two-year high.
Panasonic was one of the top percentage gainers in the index, rising 2.59%, after media reported the company would invest more than $100 million to boost its battery production capacity for Tesla. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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