TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Japanese shares eased on Thursday,
with cyclicals and oil companies leading the decline, but they
pared losses after a media report that Prime Minister Fumio
Kishida's stimulus package will be larger than initially
The Nikkei share average ended 0.30% lower at
29,598.66, but it cut a big part of its losses after the Nikkei
business daily reported Japan's economic stimulus package will
likely involve fiscal spending of around 55.7 trillion yen ($488
billion) due to huge amounts of cash payouts.
That was way above market expectations of 30-40 trillion
yen, though analysts cautioned that many investors would need to
see what the government plans to spend on.
"What's important is the contents. If there are elements
that can be interpreted as a part of growth strategy, that would
be positive for the stock market. But if not, there will be
limited boost," said Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI
The broader Topix shed 0.14% to 2,035.52.
The Nikkei reported Kishida's stimulus package will be
formally approved by the cabinet on Friday.
Before the Nikkei report came out, the market had a soft
tone after U.S. stocks ended lower overnight, capped by worries
the U.S. Federal Reserve may have to raise interest rates more
aggressively in the future to tame inflation.
Cyclical shares such as shippers and steelmakers were among
the top losers.
The TSE sea transport index lost 4%, with
Kawasaki Kisen sinking 7.2% and Nippon Yusen
Steelmakers declined 1%, with industry leader
Nippon Steel losing 1.9%.
Oil-related shares were also bruised as crude prices dropped
after a Reuters report that the United States was asking major
oil consumers like China and Japan to consider a coordinated
release of oil reserves.
Inpex declined 7.1% while Idemitsu Kosan
Eisai dropped 9% after a European Medicines Agency
panel voted against approval of Alzheimer's drug the Japanese
drugmaker developed with Biogen Inc.
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich and