Tokyo stocks close lower on US stimulus uncertainty

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

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.51 percent, or 119.50 points, to 23,507.23, while the broader Topix index fell 0.74 percent, or 12.11 points, to 1,631.79.

Japanese shares came under pressure after falls on Wall Street following downbeat comments from lawmakers on the possibility of new stimulus for the struggling US economy.

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

"Tokyo shares simply reacted to the fall in US shares," said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

"Investors are expected to remain cautious for now ahead of Japan's corporate earnings season and the US presidential election," Okumura told AFP.

The dollar stood at 105.28 yen in Asia's afternoon trade, compared with 105.13 yen in New York Wednesday.

Among major shares, Sony fell 0.69 percent to 7,757 yen with Toyota down 0.28 percent at 6,915 yen.

ANA Holdings lost 0.48 percent to 2,376.5 yen despite 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 hit by coronavirus travel restrictions.

But rival Japan Airlines rose 0.65 percent to 2,010 yen. 

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing jumped 1.10 percent to 70,420 yen. Following the closing bell, the firm said its annual net profit plunged 44 percent due to the impact of the pandemic, but forecast a sizable recovery for the current fiscal year.