Tokyo stocks close down 0.54pc

February 26, 2014 - 9:08:51 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks fell 0.54 percent Wednesday, following Wall Street lower after disappointing data on US housing and consumer confidence.

The Nikkei-225 index ended down 80.63 points at 14,970.97, while the Topix index of all first-section shares fell 0.67 percent, or 8.31 points, to 1,225.35.

In the United States the Case-Shiller index for home prices in 20 leading cities fell 0.1 percent in December, the second straight monthly decline. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January.

On Wall Street Tuesday the Dow slipped 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.13 percent and the Nasdaq gave up 0.13 percent.

However, the Nikkei's losses are likely limited as long as the dollar stays around current levels against the yen, said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

The dollar edged up to 102.32 yen Wednesday afternoon from 102.22 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3739 and 140.58 yen compared with $1.3744 and 140.49 yen in US trade.

A weak yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes their products more competitive abroad and inflates profits when repatriated.

Panasonic jumped 5.26 percent to 1,259 yen following news reports that it and California-based electric-vehicle venture Tesla Motors are in talks to build an automotive battery plant in the United States.

Honda fell 0.13 percent to 3,705 yen on reports that it plans to end the production of Insight, the company's first hybrid vehicle, at the end of February.

Toyota slipped 1.21 percent to 5,917 yen while Nissan fell 0.32 percent to 917 yen. (AFP)