March 20, 2018 / 6:41 AM / a year ago

Nikkei falls as tech shares weak; investors cautious before holiday and Fed

TOKYO, March 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Tuesday as domestic tech stocks tracked U.S. counterparts’ declines on Wall Street, but declines were limited as investors refrained from taking large positions before the Federal Reserve meeting.

The Nikkei dropped 0.5 percent to 21,380.97. The broader Topix shed 0.2 percent to 1,716.29.

Many investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a Japanese public holiday and the two-day Fed meeting expected to produce a rate hike.

The Fed decision and views on the path ahead will be known before Asian markets open on Thursday.

Concerns about increased regulation of large tech companies hit U.S. tech stocks as Facebook came under fire following reports it allowed improper access to user data.

Japanese semiconductor equipment makers tumbled, with Tokyo Electron sliding 1.2 percent and electrical equipment maker Yaskawa Electric Corp tumbling 2.6 percent.

Drugmakers lost ground, with Takeda Pharmaceutical shedding 1.2 percent and Eisai Co declining 1.9 percent.

Traders said one factor containing Tuesday’s losses was anticipation that the Bank of Japan was again buying exchange-traded funds to support the market. The central bank bought 73.5 billion yen ($691.70 million) of ETFs on Monday.

$1 = 106.2600 yen Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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