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Tokyo stocks open lower on profit-taking

AFP – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Monday, the last trading day this year in Japan, with profit-taking leading the market ahead of the year-end and New Year holidays.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.27 percent or 63.17 points to 23,774.55 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.43 percent or 7.45 points at 1,725.73.

“Many investors are taking nine straight days of holidays including today, and today there is no clear sense of direction with light trading volume,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

The dollar fetched 109.40 yen in early Asian trade, against 109.46 yen in New York on Friday.

Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note: “Markets investors appear to be growing a tad apprehensive about chasing the record setting US equity market risk-reward premise into year-end.”

“Much focus continues to fall on the abundance of liquidity offered up by the (US) Fed as a critical driver behind the late-season equity market window dressing,” he said.

Among major shares in Tokyo, SoftBank Group was down 0.99 percent at 4,723 yen, game giant Nintendo was down 0.41 percent at 43,630 yen, and Sony was off 1.06 percent at 7,371yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 0.1 percent at 28,645.26.