Tokyo stocks opened lower as automakers Toyota and Nissan fell

News Hour:

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday as automakers Toyota and Nissan fell, with investors eyeing the Japanese prime minister’s weekend meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Shinzo Abe heads to Washington later on Thursday to meet his US counterpart, who has accused Tokyo of devaluing the yen to boost exports and slammed Toyota over a planned vehicle factory in Mexico. A pick-up in the yen on Thursday took the air out of exporters’ shares, reports BSS.

“Investors remained on the sidelines to see what comes out of the Japan-US summit,” Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.44 percent, or 82.83 points, to 18,924.77 in early trade, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.52 percent, or 8.00 points, to sit at 1,516.15.

In forex markets, the dollar was trading at 112.04 yen, slightly up from 111.95 yen in New York on Wednesday afternoon but still down from 112.33 yen seen in Asia earlier in the day. A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it hurts their profitability, and reduces demand for their shares.

Toyota fell 1.42 percent to 6,294 yen in morning trading and video game maker Nintendo dropped 0.60 percent to 23,120 yen. Nissan, which announces its financial results later Thursday, was down 1.63 percent to sit at 1,114 yen.

Nisshinbo fell 3.21 percent to 1,051 yen after the company said it dropped Mexico from a list of candidate sites for a new auto parts factory due to uncertainty over Trump’s trade policy.

Banks also fell. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial dropped 1.49 percent to 742.7 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial lost 1.37 percent to trade at 4,438 yen.

SoftBank rose 1.50 percent to 8,815 yen after it said Wednesday the group’s nine-month net profit doubled, largely due to one-off gains from the sale of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The firm’s founder Masayoshi Son said Wednesday that he was eager to see to whether Trump would follow through on plans to cut down on regulation, which he said would be a “business opportunity” for his firm.

Takata, at the center of the biggest-ever auto safety recall, fell 2.82 percent to 447 yen after a report said the troubled airbag maker will post an extraordinary loss of 100 billion yen ($890 million) in the fiscal year to March.

The reported loss comes after Takata’s agreement in January with US authorities to pay $1 billion to settle its faulty airbag scandal.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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