Tokyo shares open lower on uncertain US stimulus talks

Tokyo shares opened lower Thursday as lingering US political uncertainty over a fresh stimulus package weighed on markets.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.35 percent or 83.41 points to 23,53.32 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 0.22 percent or 3.68 points to 1,640.22.

"Japanese shares are seen coming under pressure after falls on Wall Street as well as the yen's renewed strength," Okasan Online Securities said.

The dollar stood at 105.13 yen, flat from New York Wednesday.

The weak start on the Tokyo market came after US shares fell as investors "fretted over the latest squabbling by lawmakers on the US stimulus package," said Stephen Innes, global chief market strategist at Axi.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House and congressional Democrats remained "far apart" in their discussions, disappointing investors who dumped stocks. 

Innes also pointed to a series of concerns and uncertainty for investors, including the US presidential election, stalled vaccine trials for the coronavirus and possibility of renewed restrictions to control the spread of the virus.

Okasan added, however, technical charts still suggest the Tokyo market remained well-supported for the medium term, although it lacked immediate cues for active buying.

Among major shares, airline ANA Holdings jumped 2.39 percent to 2,445 yen after reports that private and government-backed banks have decided to offer loans worth 400 billion yen ($3.8 billion) to shore up its finances, which have been damaged by severe travel restrictions due to the coronavirus.

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing shed earlier losses and added 0.06 percent to 69,690 yen. The firm will announce its annual earnings report later in the day.

Toyota lost 0.30 percent to 6,914 yen, while Nissan added 0.81 percent to 375.6 yen.

Nintendo dropped 0.90 percent to 58,590 yen. Sony fell 0.56 percent to 7,767 yen.

SoftBank Group plunged 2.72 percent to 6,970.