September 5, 2018 / 3:29 AM / 2 months ago

Typhoon damage fears, trade disputes, hit Japanese shares

* Damage to Kansai airport hit airlines, tourism-linked shares

* Fast Retailing rise on strong monthly sales, supports Nikkei

* Line plunges after convertible bond offers

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Concerns about economic damage from a powerful typhoon as well as underlying caution over international trade disputes hit Japanese shares on Wednesday, putting the Nikkei index on course for a fourth consecutive day of losses.

Japan’s Nikkei share average dropped 0.29 percent to 22,631, while the broader Topix fell 0.75 percent to 1,705.

The Nikkei would have been hit harder if not for a 3.9 percent gain for index heavyweight Fast Retailing, following strong monthly sales data.

Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years, rammed through Western Japan, killing at least nine people and briefly submerging a large part of Kansai Airport, which is built on a man-made island near Osaka.

Fears that it could take a few weeks before Kansai, Japan’s second-busiest international airport, could come back to full operation have hit a number of aviation-related stocks.

The air transport index was the market’s worst performing industry gauge, falling 2.0 percent. ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines were down 1.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.

Cosmetic makers, which have benefited from spending by Chinese and other foreign tourists, were hit even harder on worries the airport’s troubles could hamper tourism.

“Kansai airport is a major hub for inbound tourism, which is already hit by flooding in Western Japan in July. If the airport cannot be used for some time, that is going to be a big blow to the shares that have benefited from inbound tourists,” said

Shiseido fell 3.3 percent while Kose dropped 4.5 percent. Pola Orbis Holdings and Fancl Corp were down 3.8 percent and 8.7 percent respectively.

Shares of Nankai Electric Railway Co, which operates trains connecting Kansai airport and Osaka, fell 4.9 percent.

Elsewhere, Line Corp fell 6.6 percent after the popular chat app operator said on Tuesday would raise around 148.1 billion yen ($1.33 billion) through convertible bonds.

Investors were also wary of further escalations in trade disputes between Washington and Beijing after U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to impose 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China after a review period that ends on Thursday. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano Editing by Eric Meijer)

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