Tokyo stocks open lower led by falls in tech, auto

Tokyo, Japan | AFP | Wednesday – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday, as falls on Wall Street discouraged investors from buying actively despite receding fears of a trade war.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.89 percent, or 402.84 points, to 20,914.48 in early trade, while the broader Topix index dropped 1.84 percent, or 31.51 points, to 1,685.62.

"The Tokyo market is affected by falls on Wall Street and the fact that today is an ex-dividend date," or the date buyers lose their rights to dividends, Kyoko Amemiya, senior market advisor at SBI Securities, told AFP.

Shares were also affected by bad news for the electric carmaker Tesla, including the US authorities’ investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle last week in California, she said.

"The currency market is reacting calmly" to news of talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China’s President Xi Jinping announced by China’s state media, she added, so its impact on stocks would likely be limited.

The dollar fetched 105.54 yen in early Asian trade, against 105.45 yen in New York late Tuesday.

Just minutes before the opening bell in Tokyo, China’s official Xinhua news agency said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made his first-ever foreign trip as leader to meet China’s president in Beijing.

Kim told China’s Xi Jinping his nuclear-armed regime was willing to hold a summit with the US, and is "committed to denuclearisation", Xinhua said.

In Tokyo, tech firms and automakers led the falls, with Panasonic dropping 5.91 percent to 1,552 yen, Nissan down 3.93 percent to 1,085.5 yen, Toyota down 2.85 percent to 6,694 yen and Subaru down 3.70 percent to 3,430 yen.

In New York, the Dow closed 1.4 percent lower while the tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 2.9 percent.

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Tesla shares plunged 8.22 percent as the National Transportation Safety Board announced it is investigating the March 23 fatal accident.

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