Tokyo open down after Fed hints at more rate hikes

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve sketched out plans for additional interest rate hikes despite recent data showing an easing in inflation.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.55 percent, or 154.39 points, at 28,001.82 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.45 percent, or 8.89 points, to 1,968.53.

"The Japanese market appears led by sell-orders on concerns that (the Federal Reserve's) monetary tightening will weigh on the US economy, which also caused falls in US stocks," Mizuho Securities said.

The dollar bought 135.39 yen in early Asian trade, against 135.45 yen in New York late Wednesday.

Before dawn in Japan, the US central bank moderated its all-out campaign to cool inflation, lifting its benchmark lending rate by half a percentage point -- but Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the bank's policy was "still not restrictive enough".

The events caused all three major US indexes to fall, with the Dow closing down 0.4 percent, the broad-based S&P dropping 0.6 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq down 0.8 percent.

Japan recorded a trade deficit of 2.03 trillion yen ($15 billion) in November, the 16th consecutive monthly deficit led by soaring fuel costs, according to data released by the finance ministry before the opening bell.

Leading motor maker Nidec was down 1.10 percent at 8,020 yen, Shin-Etsu Chemical was 0.93 percent at 17,615 yen, and Canon was off 0.35 percent at 3,104 yen.

Honda was down 0.45 percent at 3,304 yen and musical instrument and electronic parts maker Yamaha was off 0.55 percent at 5,470 yen.

But shipping firms were higher, with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines trading up 1.34 percent at 3,415 yen and Nippon Yusen up 1.74 percent at 3,219 yen.