Tokyo stocks open lower after Tillerson firing

Tokyo, Japan | AFP | Wednesday – Tokyo stocks opened lower Wednesday, with investor sentiment cautious after US President Donald Trump replaced his top diplomat and reports said he is planning new tariffs on China.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.81 percent, or 177.30 points, to 21,790.80 in early trade after four days of gains. The broader Topix index was down 0.66 percent or 11.50 points at 1,739.53.

The Tokyo market got off to a poor start after US and European stocks fell Tuesday on growing worries about a trade war.

And markets reacted with worry to Trump’s decision to sack his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and name current CIA chief Mike Pompeo to succeed him.

Analysts viewed Tillerson as a fan of free markets and fear Pompeo may take a harsher line on trade issues.

"While the game of revolving chairs in Washington plays on, there is more risk aversion creeping into play as geopolitical uncertainty ratchets higher with the more hawkish foreign policy leaning Mike Pompeo now the face of US foreign policy," Stephen Innes, who heads Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

"Equity investors remain extremely cautious about trade war escalations," he said in a commentary.

US media reports on Tuesday also said Trump was weighing a crackdown on China over alleged intellectual property theft, and hefty new tariffs on the tech sector would be announced as soon as next week.

In Tokyo trade in individual shares, machinery maker Komatsu fell 1.10 percent to 3,657 yen. Factory-automation equipment maker Fanuc dropped 0.76 percent to 27,280 yen while Toyota slipped 0.20 percent to 6,955 yen.

The dollar was trading at 106.64 yen against 106.56 yen in New York on Tuesday.





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