Tokyo stocks close sharply lower on trade concerns, firm yen

TOKYO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) - Tokyo stocks closed sharply lower Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index ending at a two-month low on heightening concerns about trade issues and the yen's strength against the U.S. dollar.


File photo: AFP

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 229.38 points, or 1.11 percent, from Friday to close the day at 20,455.44, marking its lowest close since June 4.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, dropped 17.27 points, or 1.15 percent, to finish at 1,486.57.

Tokyo stocks were pressured in early trade following a weak lead from Wall Street overnight as investors remained concerned about ongoing trade issues, local brokers said.

A comparatively firm yen against the U.S. dollar also dented market sentiment, as a stronger yen can impact Japanese exporters' earnings and diminish profits when they are repatriated from overseas.

The dollar dropped to a seven-month low of 105.05 yen in New York before recovering some of its losses.

The dollar was quoted at 105.19-20 yen at 5 p.m., compared with 105.22-32 yen in New York at 5 p.m. on Monday.

During the day, it tracked between 105.13 yen and 105.58 yen, trading most often at the 105.43 yen mark.

"As many large exporters keep their dollar-yen exchange rate assumptions at around 110 yen, the current level raised market concerns that they will cut their earnings projections for the fiscal year ending March," Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., was quoted as saying.

Among exporters that lost ground, Panasonic fell 1.8 percent and Mazda Motor dropped. 4.7 percent. Honda Motor, meanwhile, ended the day 2.4 percent lower.

By the close of play, mining, iron and steel, and oil and coal product-linked issues comprised those that declined the most, and issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,655 to 444 on the First Section, while 50 ended the day unchanged.

On the main section on Tuesday, 1,282.49 million shares changed hands, rising from Friday's volume of 1,185.64 million shares.

The turnover came to 2,182.2 billion yen (20.74 billion U.S. dollars).

Japanese markets were closed on Monday for a national holiday.