TOKYO: Japanese stocks edged lower on Wednesday as sentiment was knocked by a surge in U.S. Treasury yields to seven-year highs and after Pyongyang called off talks with Seoul, throwing a major U.S.-North Korean summit into question.
Nisshin Steel Co jumped 16 per cent after Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp said in the afternoon that Nisshin will become its wholly owned subsidiary next January via a share exchange.
The Nikkei ended 0.4 per cent lower to 22,717.23.
Data in the morning showing the world's third-biggest economy suffered a deeper-than-expected contraction in the first-quarter also checked buyers.
Japan's economy contracted a more than expected 0.6 per cent in the January-March period on an annualised basis, putting an end to eight straight quarters of expansion.
In the U.S. market overnight, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes jumped to its highest level since July 2011, driven by upbeat consumer spending and factory data.
"Overseas stocks are weaker, yields are higher while gold prices were lower… very unstable moves, and these price moves are making investors risk-averse," said Yoshinori Shigemi, global markets strategist JP Morgan Asset Management. Investors were also cautious about developments on the Korean peninsula, after North Korea cancelled high-level talks with Seoul, denouncing military exercises between South Korea and the United States.
That has raised doubts about the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart leader Kim Jong Un scheduled next month
Wednesday's big losers included Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, which fell 2.4 per cent after the bank's annual net profit missed analyst estimates and on disappointment over the size of a share buyback plan.