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Markets

Tokyo stocks open lower with eyes on BoJ

  • The headline figure did not prompt a strong market reaction.
Published March 19, 2021
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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday on profit-taking, weighed down by falls on Wall Street, as focus shifted to the Bank of Japan's policy decision later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.93 percent or 280.86 points at 29,935.89 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.69 percent or 13.84 points to 1,994.67.

"Japanese shares are seen starting with falls on profit-taking after US stocks dropped," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex.

Investors "may react to the Bank of Japan's policy decision later in the day", he added. "Reports say the central bank may expand its long-term yield target a little," in addition to tweaking the targets of its asset-purchase programme.

The Bank of Japan has said it will assess the effectiveness of its massive monetary-easing policy in this month's meeting.

The dollar fetched 109.01 yen in early Asian trade, against 108.90 yen in New York late Thursday.

Among major shares in Tokyo, Sony was down 1.12 percent at 11,500 yen and Hitachi was down 0.56 percent at 5,365 yen, but Panasonic was up 1.15 percent at 1,410 yen.

ANA Holdings was up 1.17 percent after a report said it is confident about recovery in its freight business.

Japan's core consumer price index, which excludes fresh food, was down 0.4 percent year-on-year in February, in line with market expectations, according to official data released before the opening bell.

The headline figure did not prompt a strong market reaction.

On Wall Street, the tech-rich Nasdaq plunged 3.0 percent, the benchmark Dow slipped 0.5 percent to 32,862.17, and the broad-based S&P 500 was down 1.5 percent at the close, weighed down by a rise in US government bond yields.

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