By Stanley White
TOKYO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares edged lower on Tuesday ahead of Christmas holidays, as some investors booked profits to cash in on a recent rally sparked by a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal.
The Nikkei index was down 0.04% at 23,812.55 as of 0122 GMT, dragged down by telecoms and healthcare sectors.
The Nikkei has advanced 19% so far this year and many investors have been closing out positions this month to book gains on this rally.
Trading is expected to be subdued as many financial markets will start closing from Tuesday for Christmas holidays.
Japanese shares started higher, taking their lead from a record closing high on Wall Street on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump calmed nerves by saying Washington is on track to sign a deal with Beijing to de-escalate a bruising trade war.
However, gains in Japanese stocks quickly faded as the year-end holiday mood started to set in.
There were 88 advancers in the Nikkei index against 125 decliners.
The largest percentage losers in the index were ink jet printer maker Seiko Epson Corp 6724.T down 2.47%, followed by life insurers T&D Holdings Inc 8795.T losing 1.89%, and Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc 8750.T down by 1.85%.
The largest percentage gainers in the index were Nippon Sheet Glass Co Ltd 5202.T up 4.16%, followed by advertising agency Dentsu Inc 4324.T gaining 1.59%, and electronic components maker Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd 6976.T up 1.42%.
The broader Topix index .TOPX fell 0.09% to 1,727.90.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board .TOPX was 0.31 billion, compared with an average of 1.2 billion shares in the past 30 days.
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