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Markets

Tokyo shares open lower ahead of Powell speech

  • The dollar stood at 109.98 yen compared with 110.04 yen
Published August 27, 2021

TOKYO: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index opened lower on Friday as investors awaited an address by Fed Chair Jerome Powell for clues about his plans on scaling back the central bank's stimulus programme.

The Nikkei 225 index fell 0.73 percent, or 202.23 points, to 27,540.06 in early trade, and the broader Topix index slipped 0.41 percent, or 7.90 points, to 1,927.45.

The dollar stood at 109.98 yen compared with 110.04 yen.

Powell is scheduled to deliver a speech at an annual symposium of central bankers at Jackson Hole in the United States.

Although he is expected to avoid making a major announcement, investors will analyse his address to gauge the future of the Fed's emergency financial support programme.

"Cautiousness has crept back into markets on the eve of Jackson Hole," said Tapas Strickland at National Australia Bank.

Many investors are betting that the Fed will gradually slow down the stimulus, Okasan Online Securities added in a note to clients.

"Investors will hesitate to bet either way (before) Fed chair Powell's speech," it said.

"The market however is factoring in 'tapering' expectations to a significant degree. In the end, we expect the market will get through Jackson Hole smoothly," it said.

"The next focus will be US jobs data" to be released next week, Okasan said.

The Japanese brokerage added that investors are monitoring US shares that have come under pressure after bombing attacks near the Kabul airport killed civilians waiting to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, along with 13 US troops.

Among major shares in Tokyo, Toyota dropped 0.92 percent to 9,420 yen. Sony Group fell 1.73 percent to 11,100 yen. SoftBank Group fell 0.56 percent to 6,172 yen. Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing fell 1.76 percent to 72,050.

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