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Japan stocks drop on caution over U.S. stimulus package

·2-min read

TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended lower on Tuesday, tracking overnight Wall Street losses, as investors cautiously looked to whether U.S. lawmakers could reach an agreement on a stimulus package as a deadline to reach the deal came closer.

The benchmark Nikkei share average dropped 0.44% to close at 23,567.04, while the broader Topix lost 0.75% to 1,625.74.

Stocks extended their losses in the afternoon as investors succumbed to profit-taking and refrained from taking big positions ahead of events such as the U.S. election and earnings results at home and abroad, market participants said.

Overnight, Wall Street's main indexes closed lower as U.S. lawmakers still appeared to struggle to reach an agreement on the coronavirus stimulus.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin "continued to narrow their differences" in a telephone conversation, Pelosi's spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

Pelosi had said she was optimistic that a legislation could be pushed through before Election Day, Nov. 3, but an agreement would have to come by the end of Tuesday for that to happen.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were Sony Corp up 1.83 %, followed by Fanuc Corp .

The underperformers among the Topix 30 were East Japan Railway Co down 4.34%, followed by Central Japan Railway Co losing 3.23%.

Japan Exchange Group dropped 1.51% after reports that the Financial Services Agency would conduct an on-site investigation of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and may issue a business improvement order after a system failure caused a full-day trade suspension earlier this month.

Tokyo Dome Corp climbed 1.5% following multiple media reports that Hong Kong hedge fund Oasis Management had submitted a request to the company for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to replace top leaders.

The Mothers Index of start-up firm shares bucked the overall sombre trend and gained 0.5%. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)