Tokyo stocks open lower with eyes on trade, central banks

Employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) work at the bourse in Tokyo October 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
Employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) work at the bourse in Tokyo October 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, June 17 — Tokyo stocks opened fractionally lower today, tracking falls on Wall Street, with investors’ eyes on the US-China trade war and key central bank meetings this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.06 per cent or 12.64 points to 21,104.25 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.24 per cent or 3.75 points at 1,542.96.

The US Trade Representative’s public hearings on President Donald Trump’s plans to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese-made goods will start on Monday, noted Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi, strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“It’s worth watching if there is any impact from the US-China trade war on the Japanese trade statistics due on Wednesday,” he added.

Investors are closely watching the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting from tomorrow through Wednesday, and “if the Fed’s view on the economy is hawkish enough to remove market expectations of a rate cut, that would send stocks prices down,” Nomaguchi said.

The Bank of Japan’s two-day meeting through Thursday will be also monitored as it may affect the dollar-yen rate, analysts said.

The dollar fetched ¥108.56 in early Asian trade, against ¥108.55 in New York on Friday.

In Tokyo, chip-linked shares were lower after the US chip sector declined, with chip-testing equipment maker Advantest dropping 4.64 per cent to ¥2,848 and chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron diving 4.06 per cent to ¥14,035.

Some electronics were among the losers, with Sharp trading down 2.80 per cent at ¥1,051 and electronics parts maker Rohm off 1.60 per cent at ¥6,730.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 0.3 per cent at 26,042.11. — AFP