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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.51% lower


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.51 per cent lower on Thursday, weighed down by concerns over Greek debt problems.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 89.53 points to 17,589.21 at the start.

The euro stayed weak after tumbling on the European Central Bank's (ECB) announcement it would no longer allow Greek banks to use government debt, which has a junk rating, as collateral for loans in a decision that rattled financial markets.

The common European currency bought US$1.1332 and 132.92 yen early Thursday against US$1.1334 and 132.81 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up just 0.04 per cent on Wednesday after after the ECB put fresh pressure on Athens with its decision.

The move means Greek banks cannot pledge their government bonds as liquidity collateral from February 11, leaving them dangerously short of access to funding.

It darkened hopes that Greece's new government could quickly reach a deal on modifying their bailout and avoid a new eurozone crisis.

Sharp drops in oil prices also dragged down the US equity market.

The dollar was 117.30 yen on Thursday against 117.18 yen in US trade.