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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower Thursday on surging US bond yields as minutes from the Fed fuelled expectations of more aggressive future rate hikes.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.19 percent, or 325.66 points, to 27,024.64 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 1.26 percent, or 24.24 points, to 1,899.79.

The dollar stood at 123.59, slightly softer from 123.79 on Wednesday in New York.

Falling US shares depressed sentiment, although the Tokyo market remained well supported, analysts said.

Global markets dropped overnight along with oil prices as the US Federal Reserve's meeting minutes revealed that several members expressed support in March for raising interest rates by half a percentage point rather than the quarter percentage point officially decided.

The Nasdaq gave up 2.2 percent while the Dow slipped 0.4 percent.

Tokyo stocks open lower with eyes on US Fed's minutes

"The Tokyo market will face heavy pressure," Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

Investors are shifting their money to defensive issues such as healthcare or utilities, it said.

Japanese players will gradually refrain from making major moves ahead of earnings season in several weeks, Okasan added.

"In the Tokyo market, there are still high hopes that domestic investors will pick up bargains when stocks fall," the brokerage said.

"But it is likely that investors will take a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the corporate earnings season... and the market would move in a narrow band to solidify its footing."

Among major shares, Toyota fell 2.15 percent to 2,143.0 yen. Sony Group gave up 2.85 percent to 12,080 yen, while Panasonic Holdings dropped 3.33 percent to 1,132.0 yen.

Advantest, which makes testing tools for semiconductors, tumbled 4.03 percent to 8,820 yen.

Nintendo eased 0.25 percent to 63,300 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing fell 2.92 percent to 60,450 yen.

Drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical firmed 0.36 percent to 3,611 yen.

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