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Tokyo: Japanese stocks end nearly flat as geopolitical tensions sour mood

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[TOKYO] Japanese stocks were nearly flat on Wednesday in choppy trade as investors refrained from taking large positions as geopolitical tensions soured the mood.

The Nikkei 225 share average edged up 0.07 per cent to 18,432.20 after traversing positive and negative territory, while the broader Topix was down 0.01 per cent at 1,471.42.

Regional banks Kita-Nippon Bank and Keiyo Bank both underperformed after the 10-year JGB yield hit 0 per cent, its lowest level since mid November.

Escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea kept investors nervous, while eyes were also on Europe where sterling surged after British Prime Minister Theresa May called an early general election for June 8, seeking to strengthen her party's majority ahead of Brexit negotiations.

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Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 1.1 per cent, Honda Motor Co shedding 1.2 per cent and Panasonic Corp rising 0.7 per cent.

Shippers fell after the Baltic dry index, or freight charges, dropped overnight. Mitsui OSK Lines shed 2.1 per cent and Nippon Yusen stumbled 3.1 per cent.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 per cent to 13,174.08.

REUTERS

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