Tokyo stocks close down 0.39pc

January 16, 2014 - 9:10:13 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 0.39 percent lower Thursday, losing steam after early buying stoked by a record close on Wall Street and the dollar's gain against the yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 61.53 points to 15,747.20, while the Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.01 percent, or 0.13 points, to 1,294.39.

Wall Street had supplied a positive lead following a strong start to corporate earnings season and the Federal Reserve's upbeat "Beige Book" outlook on the world's biggest economy, which it said grew at a "moderate" pace across most regions at the end of 2013.

The S&P 500 closed up 0.52 percent at a new record high and the Dow ended 0.66 percent higher.

Also Thursday the New York Fed said manufacturing activity picked up in the US state in December, while the Labor Department said its producer price index rose 0.4 percent in same month, above estimates.

The upbeat sentiment boosted the dollar against the yen, a plus for Japanese exporters, with the greenback buying 104.73 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, from 104.59 yen in New York on Wednesday.

The Japanese market also won a measure of support from official data that showed November machinery orders -- a key measure of capital spending -- jumped 9.3 percent on-month to a five-year high, suggesting a pick-up in corporate investment.

"However, overall investment may still weaken in coming months as residential investment will likely fall sharply after the sales tax hike" in April, said London-based Capital Economics.

Japan is to raise its sales tax to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent in a bid to chop a massive national debt, but critics fear it will derail a recovery in the world's third-largest economy.

In share trading, Apple-related shares were up as it prepares to start selling iPhones through China Mobile, the world's largest carrier, on Friday.

Microchip maker Rohm jumped 2.64 percent to 5,430 yen and Murata Manufacturing rose 1.19 percent to 10,180 yen.

Sony fell 0.22 percent to 1,804 yen while Toyota gained 0.41 percent to 6,261 yen.

Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing fell 2.35 percent to 38,820 yen. (AFP)