Japan's Nikkei closes flat amid economic worries, shippers top losers

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TOKYO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei index closed almost flat on Tuesday, with energy-related stocks and shippers weighing the most, as worries about a slowdown in the U.S. and Chinese economies weakened sentiment.

The Nikkei share average finished 0.01% lower at 28,868.91, snapping a two-day rally that had sent it to the highest level in more than seven months. The broader Topix edged 0.15% lower to 1,981.96.

"The market rallied in the past (few) sessions but sentiment has been weakened by concerns about an economic slowdown," said Shuji Hosoi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

China's central bank on Monday cut lending rates to revive demand as data showed the economy unexpectedly slowed in July, with factory and retail activity squeezed by Beijing's zero-COVID policy and a property crisis.

In Japan, oil explorers fell 1.48% and refiners lost 1.5% after oil prices dropped on demand concerns in China — the world's top crude buyer.

Shipping firms fell 4.08% and led declines among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry sub-indexes.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines lost 4.12% to become the worst performer on the Nikkei, followed by Nippon Yusen, which fell 4.09%, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, which dropped 3.98%.

SoftBank Group fell 2.56% after the Financial Times reported activist fund Elliott Management had sold almost all of its remaining shares in the technology start-up investor.

Istyle surged by its daily limit of 27.3% after Amazon decided to take a 36.95% stake in the operator of cosmetic review website @cosme.

JAFCO Group jumped 12.37% after a group of shareholders backed by a prominent activist investor "hinted" they could buy a majority stake in the venture capital firm.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu)