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Tokyo: Stocks close down on late profit-taking

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks fell Friday on late profit-taking, after the Donald Trump-fuelled rally in the dollar overnight fizzled out, putting exporters under pressure.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.16 per cent, or 37.61 points, to 23,631.88, leaving it down 0.74 per cent over the week.

The broader Topix index was down 0.27 per cent or 5.17 points at 1,879.39. It lost 0.55 per cent in the week.

The Nikkei opened higher after the dollar bounced back on Mr Trump's comments favouring a strong US currency.

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But the early gains were erased as dollar-selling pressure revived with analysts predicting the greenback would continue weakening.

"Investors locked in profits as uncertain factors are still ahead," including a speech by Trump at the Davos summit, said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

One day after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to embrace a cheap US currency, Mr Trump told CNBC Mnuchin's remarks had been taken out of context, and restated the traditional US policy.

"Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar," Mr Trump said, sparking a rally for the US currency, which had hit a three-year low against the euro earlier in the day.

The dollar fetched 109.20 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, down from 109.44 yen in New York but still slightly up from levels below 109 yen earlier Thursday in Asia.

As well as trump's speech, traders are also awaiting the release Friday of fourth-quarter US economic growth and durable goods orders.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, blue-chip exporters were mixed.

Canon lost 0.37 per cent to 4,280 yen as Panasonic dropped 1.19 per cent to 1,659 yen, but Sony rose 0.68 per cent to 5,285 yen with Toyota up 0.18 per cent at 7,608 yen.

Suzuki Motor dropped 3.51 per cent to 6,184 yen after its Indian unit reportedly approved a change in the way it calculates royalties that will result in lower payments for new models.

AFP

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