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Tokyo: Stocks open down 0.17%

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.17 per cent lower on Wednesday as caution grew following recent advances and ahead of a policy announcement by the US central bank.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which closed at a fresh 15-year high on Tuesday, slipped 29.24 points to 19,407.76 at the start.

Shares in Nintendo were marked up 21 per cent in early trade due to overwhelming buying bids after it said on Tuesday that it was stepping into the smartphone games market.

Nintendo said that it was teaming up with a mobile gaming company to develop games for smartphones in what could be a turning point for the Japanese giant.

For the broader market, investors were awaiting the US Federal Reserve's policy announcement Wednesday, which is expected to give clues on the timing of an increase in near-zero interest rates, perhaps as early as June.

The dollar bought 121.33 yen, compared with 121.34 yen in New York late Tuesday.

The euro was at US$1.0593 and 128.54 yen against US$1.0590 and 128.51 yen in US trade.

Currency rates hardly changed after official data showed Japan's trade deficit fell 47.3 per cent on-year in February, largely thanks to lower oil prices.

US stocks on Tuesday finished mostly lower ahead of the Fed announcement, while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose on news of a potential new Apple television venture.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.71 per cent, and the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.34 per cent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 0.16 per cent.