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Tokyo stocks open lower on worries over US budget, growth

Dec 21 2018 07:58

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday amid worries about a possible US government shutdown and a slowing global economy, with a higher yen also weighing on sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.45%, or 91.92 points, at 20 300.66 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.48%, or 7.34 points, at 1 509.82.

"It's inevitable that the Japanese shares suffer after days of falls in US shares with a higher yen against the dollar," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

And "with a stronger yen against the dollar without fresh reasons to buy, the focus is if the Nikkei index will be able to rebound," Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex, said in a note.

Investors tend to take a wait-and-see attitude ahead of year-end and New Year holidays, analysts said.

The dollar fetched ¥111.23 in early Asian trade, almost unchanged from ¥111.13 in New York but lower than ¥111.92 in Asian afternoon trade on Thursday.

Nissan was down 2.13% at 882.1% amid reports its former chairman Carlos Ghosn may be bailed after the November 19 surprise arrest and indictment earlier this month.

But its rivals were also lower, with Toyota trading down 2.82% at ¥6 442 and Honda off 0.57% at ¥2 947.

Hi-tech giants were also lower, with Sony dropping 3.29% to ¥5 247 and Panasonic down 1.45% at ¥988.4.

SoftBank Corp traded up 1.62% at ¥1 317 on its third day after its disappointing debut on the Tokyo stocks exchange that saw the stock finish 14.5% lower than the IPO price.

Japan's inflation in November stood at 0.9%, slightly weaker than the 1% recorded the previous month, official data showed 30 minutes before the opening bell.

Investors did not react to the data as they appear to have factored in weak inflation in the world's third-biggest economy.

In New York, the Dow ended down 2.0% at 22 859.60.

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