TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Wednesday, as investors locked in profits after recent gains, while caution ahead of a key US inflation print also weighed on risk sentiment.

The Nikkei was down 0.27% at 39,666.24 by the midday break.

The Nikkei was poised to snap a winning streak after the index rose nearly 1% each in the previous two sessions.

The benchmark index had slumped nearly 2% in its biggest daily decline in almost a month on Friday.

“The Nikkei rose in the past two days, which prompted investors to sell stocks,” said Naoki Fujiwara, senior fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.

“Also the market turned cautions ahead of the US consumer price inflation for March, which will indicate the timing of the US rate cuts,” Fujiwara said.

Investors will closely watch US data later in the day as they seek direction on the Federal Reserve’s next move in interest rates.

The data is expected to show a rise in headline inflation to 3.4% year-on-year, from 3.2% in February.

Shares of Uniqlo brand owner Fast Retailing fell 1.43% to become the biggest drag in the Nikkei while drugmaker Chugai Pharmaceutical lost 2.24%. Chip-testing making equipment Advantest slipped 0.51%.

Japan’s Nikkei climbs as chip shares gain, softer yen lifts sentiment

Bucking the trend, chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron rose 0.85% and silicon wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical gained 1.22%.

Nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Holdings rose 4.71% to become the top performer in the benchmark index while city gas supplier Tokyo Gas advanced 4.67%.

The broader Topix slipped 0.17% to 2,749.92, with Toyota Motor falling 0.66% to become the biggest drag.

Trading house Mitsui & Co lost 2.1% Seven & i Holdings reversed course to fall 1.06% after Kyodo news agency reported that the retail conglomerate plans to list its supermarket unit Ito-Yokado.

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