Japanese shares fell slightly on Friday as fears of a continued tightening in monetary policy in the US returned to haunt Asian markets.

The Nikkei 225 closed down 0.1 per cent to 15,124.04 while the broader Topix index ended down 0.2 per cent to 1,545.57.

But the market was buoyed by strength in the real estate sector.

Reflecting concerns about further interest rate increases in the US – which would squeeze demand for goods from overseas – exporters took some of the worst hits. Carmakers like Honda, down 1.2 per cent to Y7,280, and Toyota, down 1.4 per cent at Y5,790, were among those sold down.

Consumer electronics also underperformed, although partly on more company-specific concerns. Sanyo Electric was down 3.2 per cent to Y243 after Nokia, the Finnish handset maker, ended its joint venture with the Japanese company before it had even begun. The handset venture had been a rare bright spot for the embattled Sanyo.

Among the worst performing sectors, mining was down 2.8 per cent, transport equipment down 1.4 per cent and securities down 0.6 per cent.

Some consumer finance companies were hit by newspaper reports that a committee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party agreed to tighten rules. Takefuji declined 0.9 per cent to Y6,810.

Consumer lenders have been under a cloud for much of this year as a result of aggressive penalties from the regulator and mooted plans to lower the maximum rate lenders can charge.

Bucking the downward trend, Showa Denko, a chemicals maker, leapt 6.3 per cent to Y487 after raising its full year recurring profit forecast by 6.5 per cent.

The real estate sector jumped 1.7 per cent, continuing this year’s volatility as investors fretted about high valuations. The sector has been boosted this week by news of higher rents in Japan’s biggest cities. Mitsui Fudosan, Japan’s biggest property company, leapt 3.1 per cent to Y2,355.

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