Business

Tokyo stocks down 0.54% by break

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks lost 0.54 percent Monday morning, weighed down by a strong yen and a slump on Wall Street that was fuelled by disappointing US growth figures.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 94.61 points to 17,579.78 by the break, while the broader Topix of all first-section shares slipped 0.58 percent, or 8.16 points, to 1,406.91.

Wall Street tumbled Friday after data showed the US economy expended at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, well below the 5.0 percent in the previous three months.

The Dow sank 1.45 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.30 percent and the Nasdaq fell 1.03 percent.

“This kind of US gross domestic product reading will weigh on the stock market, which had been worried about slowing global economic growth since last year,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo.

“The global economy should benefit from cheaper oil, but we’re being hit with the negative effects first, and this will likely ripple in to weaker stock prices as well,” Hirakawa told Bloomberg News.

The dollar was at 117.53 yen Monday against 117.59 yen in New York late Friday. The greenback fell to a low of 116.62 yen at one point in early Asian trade.

A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and trims profits when repatriated.

The euro bought $1.1315 and 133.01 yen against $1.1284 and 132.70 yen in New York.

Japan Airlines sank 2.49 percent to 3,910.0 by the break after increasing its net-income forecast by less than expected.

Panasonic slipped  0.85 percent to 1,340.5 yen on news reports said it would withdraw TV production from China and Mexico as part of a restructuring plan aimed at stemming losses. (AFP)

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