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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.38% lower


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.38 per cent lower on Friday after the yen firmed against the dollar on another round of discouraging US data.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 75.37 points to 19,810.40 at the start.

The dollar slid Thursday as new US economic data disappointed, adding further evidence to reasons for the Federal Reserve to hold off raising interest rates.

Government data showed Thursday that US housing starts rose less than expected in March. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, increased well above estimates to their highest level in six weeks.

The dollar bought 119.06 yen early Friday, hardly changed from 119.04 yen in New York late Thursday but down from 119.33 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.

A stronger yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and erode profits when repatriated.

The euro fetched US$1.0767 and 128.13 yen on Friday compared with US$1.0761 and 128.10 yen in US trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.04 per cent Thursday following mixed earnings and lacklustre economic data as worries about Greece's finances returned to the forefront.

Equity markets in Britain, France and Germany fell sharply on concerns about slow progress in bailout negotiations between Greece and international creditors.