Tokyo stocks close 1.12pc lower

December 12, 2013 - 10:28:41 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 1.12 percent lower Thursday as investors turned their focus to next week's Federal Reserve meeting, with speculation growing that the bank will scale back its stimulus programme.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index eased 173.24 points to 15,341.82 and the Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.66 percent, or 8.22 points, to 1,242.23.

Tokyo's decline came after Wall Street turned down Wednesday, which analysts partly attributed to profit-taking after this year's sizzling equity market surge.

The Dow lost 0.81 percent, the S&P 500 was off 1.13 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1.40 percent.

The losses also came after US lawmakers unveiled a federal budget deal that would avert another government shutdown in January.

The deal still needs to win approval from the full House of Representatives and Senate but could give the Federal Reserve more reason for cutting its stimulus, which has been credited for buoying global equity markets.

A strengthening dollar, which rose as high as 102.75 yen in morning trade failed to entice buying in Tokyo ahead of the Fed's policy decision.

In the afternoon, the US unit fetched 102.66 yen, up from 102.40 yen in New York Wednesday but still off 103.30 yen earlier this week.

"Investors are unlikely to actively pursue exporters unless the dollar rises above the year's high," of 103.74 yen in May, said Keisuke Shirasuka, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management.

A weaker yen boosts the competitiveness and profitability of Japanese exporters.

In share trading, Toyota declined 0.80 percent to 6,170 yen, Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing lost 1.33 percent to 37,200 yen, mobile carrier SoftBank was down 1.10 percent to 8,960 yen while rival telecom giant NTT Docomo edged up 0.36 percent to 1,660 yen. (AFP)

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