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Tokyo stocks open lower on profit-taking

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday after two days of rallies as investors locked in profits while awaiting fresh

Dec 14 2018

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday after two days of rallies as investors locked in profits while awaiting fresh global data for clues on growth in major economies.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.65 percent, or 141.81 points, at 21,674.38 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.40 percent, or 6.53 points, at 1,610.12.

"Japanese shares are receiving some support from the eventless... (European Central Bank) meeting, but trade lacks a sense of direction following mixed US stocks indexes and ahead of fresh economic indicators" in China and the United States later Friday, Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

The dollar fetched 113.57 yen in early Asian trade, against 113.60 yen in New York late Thursday.

The ECB announced Thursday the end of its "quantitative easing" (QE) programme that has seen it pump 2.6 trillion euros ($3 trillion) into the eurozone economy to stoke growth and inflation.

But even after net purchases of government and corporate bonds end, the bank said it will continue to stimulate the economy long into the future while announcing lower growth forecasts.

ECB chief Mario Draghi's "fear of growing downside risks didn't do too much damage to the euro", National Australia Bank said in a note, adding traders were closely watching a set of data due later Friday in China and the United States, including US retail sales.

In Tokyo, Japan Display surged 40.30 percent to 74 yen after a report said it is in talks with Chinese firms over receiving some 50 billion yen ($4.4 billion) in capital investment.

Chip-related shares were among losers, with Tokyo Electron dropping 4.10 percent to 13,530 yen and Advantest off 1.78 percent at 2,095 yen.

Banks also slipped, with Mitsubishi UFJ down 1.04 percent at 585.2 yen and its rival Mizuho down 0.49 percent at 180 yen.

Investors shrugged off the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan business confidence survey, released 10 minutes before the opening bell, that showed no change in business confidence from the previous survey among major manufacturers.

In New York, the Dow ended up 0.3 percent at 24,597.38, while the S&P 500 closed flat and the Nasdaq fell 0.4 percent.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2018