Tokyo stocks open lower as yen edges higher

Tokyo, Japan | AFP | Thursday – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday as fresh concerns emerged over the prospects for the Chinese economy with a firmer yen also weighing on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.15 percent or 32.59 points at 21,887.87 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.09 percent or 1.50 points at 1,644.62.

The dollar fetched 112.86 yen in early Asian trade, unchanged from New York, but lower than above-113 yen levels in Tokyo late Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity slowed in October, official data showed Wednesday, adding to a growing list of bad news for the Asian giant as it struggles to maintain economic momentum in the face of US tariffs and a weakening yuan.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a key gauge of factory conditions, came in at 50.2 for the month, down from 50.8 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The official PMIs "were the latest downbeat indicators," Mark Williams of Capital Economics said in a note to clients.

"The Markit manufacturing PMI due on Thursday is the next indicator to watch," he said.

The fall in Japanese shares is in part a rebalancing, in "reaction to a rise of more than 460 yen in the Nikkei index yesterday," Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex in a commentary.

In Tokyo, telecoms nosedived after the industry leader NTT Docomo said it would cut fees under government pressure, with its shares down 10.14 percent at 4,268 yen.

Its smaller rivals were also down: KDDI plummeted 14.97 percent to 2,393 yen and SoftBank was off 7.13 percent at 8,402 yen.

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Panasonic dropped 9.80 percent to 1,127 yen after it reported its first-half to September net profit fell 4.5 percent on-year to 113.6 billion yen ($1 billion).

Some carmakers were lower, with Toyota down 0.78 percent at 6,563 yen and Nissan off 0.53 percent at 1,022 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 1.0 percent at 25,115.76.

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