December 20, 2018 / 2:58 AM / 6 months ago

Japan's Nikkei hits 9-mth low after Fed's stance dampens mood

* Nikkei down 1.7 pct, brushes lowest since late March

* Topix loses 1.4 pct, falls to 20-month trough

* SoftBank Corp remains on shaky ground after bearish debut

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei slipped to a fresh nine-month low on Thursday, weighed by a slide in U.S. shares, after the Federal Reserve disappointed some investors by not sounding as dovish as anticipated.

At the midday break, Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 1.7 percent at 20,631.43 after going as low as 20,598.86, its weakest since March 26.

The broader Topix shed 1.4 percent to 1,534.63 after touching 1,532.39, lowest since early May 2017.

Following a two-day policy meeting the Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday for the fourth time this year as widely expected.

The U.S. central bank also forecast fewer interest-rate increases in 2019, but this fell short of some investors’ hopes for a more dovish monetary policy and Wall Street shares slumped in response.

“It is about Japanese stocks following their U.S. peers lower today,” said Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments.

“The Fed did not veer too much from prior expectations and the statements did not sound particularly hawkish in my view. But following the recent market volatility, expectations for a dovish Fed appears to have grown, perhaps excessively.”

Shares of telecoms operator SoftBank Corp remained volatile after slumping 15 percent on its debut the previous day. The slide inflicted big losses on retail investors who bought into the household name in Japan’s biggest ever IPO.

SoftBank Corp shares were 0.16 percent lower at 1,280 yen after falling more than 8 percent to 1,176 yen in early trade.

Shares of technology-related companies slipped after a decline by their U.S. counterparts.

Panasonic Corp fell 2.9 percent, Fanuc Corp lost 2.8 percent and Tokyo Electron shed 2.2 percent.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co was up 8 percent after it announced the listing of American depository shares on the New York Stock Exchange later this month.

Takeda had sunk to a six-year low of 3,498 yen on Wednesday after a ratings downgrade by Moody’s.

Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co climbed 2.8 percent following news that it offered to buy French over-the-counter drugs business UPSA for $1.6 billion from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Hydraulic equipment maker KYB Corp lost 2.3 percent after it said that there were additional properties affected as a result of its data falsification. ($1 = 112.5200 yen) (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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