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Tokyo stocks open lower as yen picks up

Toshiba rose 1.30 percent to 310 yen on investor relief over the embattled industrial conglomerate's announcement late Thursday that it had signed a deal to sell its memory chip business to a group led by US investor Bain Capital for around $18 billion.
AFP

Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Friday, as exporters slipped due to a gradual pick-up in the yen exchange rate. 

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.13 percent, or 25.90 points, to 20,337.21 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.16 percent, or 2.59 points, at 1,673.58.

“Selling will likely lead on the Japanese stock markets today as the dollar’s rise has taken a breather,” Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

But “drops are going to be limited due to dip buying”, it added.  

The dollar got a boost on Wednesday as global investors cheered US president Donald Trump’s Republican Party rolling out a plan to reform America’s tax code, seeking deep cuts to corporate levies and the abolition of inheritance tax in a bid to fuel growth.

In Asia, the dollar was trading at 112.58 yen, up from 112.29 yen in New York Thursday afternoon but still down from 112.99 yen where Tokyo investors left off on Thursday.

A stronger yen hurts Japanese exporters as it erodes their repatriated profits and makes their goods less competitive in foreign markets.

Currency rates hardly moved on a raft of Japanese data released early Friday, which confirmed the world’s third largest economy still has a long way to go to achieve its 2.0-percent inflation target.

In stocks trade, Toyota fell 0.85 percent to 6,711 yen and Honda lost 0.83 percent to trade at 3,334 yen.

Canon edged down 0.18 percent to 3,842 yen.

Toshiba rose 1.30 percent to 310 yen on investor relief over the embattled industrial conglomerate’s announcement late Thursday that it had signed a deal to sell its memory chip business to a group led by US investor Bain Capital for around $18 billion.

The sale money is expected to keep loss-hit Toshiba afloat and enable it to avert delisting from the Tokyo bourse.

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