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Markets

Tokyo stocks close lower ahead of Fed decision

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday ahead of a rate announcement by the US Federal Reserve, while Toshiba

Dec 13 2017

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday ahead of a rate announcement by the US Federal Reserve, while Toshiba edged up after it settled a dispute with its US partner.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.47 percent, or 108.10 points, to close at 22,758.07, while the broader Topix index was down 0.23 percent, or 4.24 points, at 1,810.84.

Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen is slated to speak at a news conference following the rate announcement, and investors will be watching closely for signals on the timetable for rate hikes in 2018.

The dollar fetched 113.31 yen in early Asian trade, slightly down from 113.51 in New York late Tuesday and 113.45 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

"Global interest rates will be important" for the stocks market for the time being, said Tomo Kinoshita, chief market strategist at Nomura Securities.

The brokerage changed its prediction for the pace of US central bank rate hikes "to three times next year from twice", he said.

Stocks have recently been supported by robust global economic growth, which "will likely continue through next year", he added.

Kinoshita said potential risks are linked to the Chinese economy, including "negative impact from structural reforms under Chinese leader Xi Jinping and slowing down of investment in real estate".

Toshiba ended up 1.96 percent at 312 yen after the crisis-hit company said it had settled legal disputes with US production partner Western Digital.

This paves the way for the embattled conglomerate to sell its chip business to raise much-needed cash.

Some semiconductor-linked firms were lower following a weak reading in the US chip industry index known as SOX.

Chip-testing equipment manufacturer Advantest dropped 1.44 percent to 2,120 yen.

Shikoku Electric plunged 8.31 percent to 1,390 yen after a high court decision to suspend one of its nuclear reactors.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017