Chipmakers drag Japan's Nikkei lower on Micron supply cut
TOKYO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei edged lower on Thursday, with chip-related companies Tokyo Electron and Advantest dragging the most after Micron Technology scaled back its memory chip supply and capital spending, raising concerns of a slowdown in the industry.
Micron was the first major chipmaker to sound an alarm about falling demand for personal computers and smartphones earlier this year in the face of decades-high inflation.
By 0126 GMT, the Nikkei share average was down 0.1% at 27,991.3, while the broader Topix was up 0.39% at 1,970.77.
Chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron fell 2.67% to be the biggest drag in the Nikkei, while chip-testing equipment maker Advantest slipped 3.58%.
"Those two stocks were blamed for today's loss on the Nikkei," said Maki Sawada, a strategist for Nomura Securities.
Shares of Micron Technology dropped 6.7% after the semiconductor firm said it would reduce memory chip supply and make more cuts to its capital spending plan, as it struggles to clear excess inventory due to a slump in demand.
The announcement sent Wall Street's S&P 500 information technology sector 1.4% lower while the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index slumped 4.3%.
Rohm fell 4.35% after the Japanese chipmaker said it was considering joining a consortium led by private-equity fund Japan Industrial Partners to buy out Toshiba.
Wall Street's main indexes ended lower on Wednesday as a grim outlook from Target spurred fresh concerns about retailers heading into the crucial holiday season.
Bucking the trend, retailers and railway operators jumped after the number of foreign visitors to Japan more than doubled in October from the previous month, as Japan fully reopened to overseas visitors after more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
Department store operators Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings jumped 5.12%, while Takashimaya rose 4.94% and Marui Group advanced 3.62%.
Train operators Tokyu Corp rose 3.84% and Tobu Railway climbed 3.54%. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)