Japan's Nikkei extends gains, though China's slowdown fears weigh

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average gained for a second day on Monday, taking cues from previous session's tech-driven rally on Wall Street, although gains were curbed as China's economic data fuelled slowdown worries.

The Nikkei .N225 ended 0.45% higher at 26,547.05. The benchmark jumped as much as 1.55% to a one-week high of 26,836.96 in early trading, but shed most of the early gains after data showed a sharper-than-expected slowdown at factories and shops in major trade partner China.

Tech was by far the Nikkei's best-performing sector, up 0.88%, while basic materials led the losers with a 1.01% drop.

Losers handily outnumbered winners though, with 137 of the Nikkei's 225 component stocks declining, compared with 86 that rose and two that were flat.

The broader Topix .TOPX edged down 0.05% to 1,863.26 after opening the day about 1% higher.

The Nasdaq .NDX led gains in the U.S. stock indexes on Friday with a 3.7% advance. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index .SOX jumped 5% on the day.

However, the mood in global markets soured on Monday after shockingly weak data from China underlined the deep damage lockdowns are doing to the world's second-largest economy.

"The risks from China's slowdown are one of the main reasons for the poor sentiment in equity markets," said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

"At the same time, we may be close to the peak in terms of China concerns," he said, with the government now starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Shanghai will gradually begin reopening businesses such as shopping malls and hair salons from Monday, following weeks of strict lockdowns.

Earnings results also divided Japan's market sentiment, with Friday marking the climax of the corporate reporting season. For instance, precision parts maker NTN Corp 64.72.T was the biggest percentage gainer with an 11.68% surge versus Dowa Holdings' 5714.T 13.06% tumble.

Automakers were also mixed, with Mazda 7261.T rising 5.65%, but Honda 7267.T slumped 4.37% on a disappointing earnings forecast and motorcycle-maker Yamaha 7272.T sank 9.11%, having reported underwhelming results after the bell on Friday.

Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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