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Japanese Nikkei closes lower amid concerns over Syria

JAPAN (OBSERVATORY) –┬áJapanese stocks closed lower on Thursday amid fears of a possible US military move against Syria that limited investors’ appetite for risk, while business results kept the retail sector in the limelight.

The benchmark Nikkei <.N225> was down 0.1 percent on Thursday at 2,660.28.

The day’s highest performing shares were 57, down from 159.

Investors are cautiously cautious at a time of heightened tensions after US President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poisonous gas attack.

At the local level, the retail sector has been the focus of business results reports.

Shares in Lawson’s department store fell 4.9 percent after the company forecast a 8.8 percent drop in its operating profit until February 2019 as it continued to invest in new activities.

On the other hand, ION supermarket chain shares rose more than 4 percent after the company posted a record operating profit and expected further gains.

Other gainers were miners, driven by higher crude prices to their highest level since late 2014, but airline stocks fell on concerns about rising fuel prices.

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co climbed 3 percent and Japan Drilling gained 5.2 percent.

Japan Airlines fell 1.2 percent and ANE Holdings lost 0.7 percent.

The broader Topix index <.TOPX> was down 0.4 percent at 1718.52 on Thursday.