Tokyo stocks open lower after Wall Street drops

AFP – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday following falls on Wall Street after minutes from the US central bank’s last meeting solidified expectations of interest rate hikes ahead.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.78 percent or 172.47 points to 21,798.34 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.65 percent, or 11.45 points, at 1,750.16.

"The content of the minutes was no surprise but the US stocks’ negative reaction to it dragged the Tokyo market down," said Toshihiko Matsuno at the investor investment division of SMBC Nikko Securities.

"US stocks swings indicate it may take some more time for investor sentiment to calm down" from volatility earlier in February, he told AFP.

US stocks were in positive territory most of the session on Wednesday, but began falling about 40 minutes after the Fed released the minutes of last month’s Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

US central bankers said the recent tax cuts could spur the economy more than expected in the near term, meaning further interest rate hikes will likely be needed, according to the minutes.

The dollar was trading at 107.60 yen against 107.74 yen in New York on Wednesday.

In individual stock trade, Honda fell 1.89 percent to 3,774 yen and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial dropped 1.01 percent to 761.3 yen. 

NTT climbed 1.66 percent to 4,833 yen after the telecom carrier announced a share buyback.





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