World Update: Tokyo opens lower after US stocks see first drop of 2018

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World Update: Tokyo opens lower after US stocks see first drop of 2018

A businessman looks at an electric quotation board flashing the closing rate of the Tokyo Stock Exchange market in Tokyo on May 2, 2011. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed above 10,000 points for the first time since March 11 amid optimism Wall Street shares would rise following the death of Osama bin Laden, dealers said. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday after Wall Street fell for the first time in 2018 the previous day, while a strong yen weighed on sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.58 percent or 137.89 points to 23,650.31 in early trade while the broader Topix index opened down 0.49 percent or 9.18 points at 1,882.93.

“Investors are cashing in on the recent gains after watching a decline on Wall Street,” Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.

US stocks lost ground on Wednesday amid worries over the fate of the NAFTA trade deal, while the dollar was hit by a report China may slow or halt its purchases of US government bonds.

All three major US indices finished lower, ending six straight days of records for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Shares of several US-listed companies that have benefited from NAFTA fell sharply on news Canadian officials increasingly view President Donald Trump as likely to abandon the trade pact.

The dollar traded at 111.32 yen in early Asian trade Thursday, down from 111.43 yen in New York late Wednesday.

Exporters were facing selling pressure on a stronger yen, which erodes their profitability.

Toyota dropped 1.84 percent to 7,564 yen and Panasonic fell 0.46 percent to 1,730.5 yen.

Hitachi lost 1.03 percent to 908 yen after a news report said that the Japanese and British governments plan to give loans to aid the company’s nuclear plant project in Britain.

Fast Retailing, Uniqlo clothing chain operator, which will release its earnings later in the day, rose 0.29 percent to 46,940 yen.

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