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Tokyo: Stocks open down 0.26%


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday after a breather in the yen's fall, with investors eyeing political developments as Japan sets the stage for a snap election next month.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 0.26 per cent, or 44.28 points, to 17,256.58 in the first few minutes of trade.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to dissolve the lower house of parliament later Friday for an election next month following his decision to postpone a planned sales tax hike.

"The market continues to show all the signs of being technically overbought and potentially ready for a pullback," Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The Nikkei had risen to seven-year highs after the Bank of Japan expanded its monetary easing programme on October 31. Abe's decision to put off the tax hike fuelled rises in stocks and falls in the yen.

A lower yen is positive for Japanese exporters but its decline took a breather on Thursday.

The dollar was at 118.15 yen early Friday, down from 118.22 yen in New York Thursday afternoon.

The euro bought US$1.2542 and 148.26 yen against US$1.2540 and 148.25 yen in US trade.

On Wall Street the Dow and S&P 500 notched fresh records Thursday on strong US economic data and a jump in oil company shares thanks to rebounding crude prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.19 per cent to 17,719.00, and the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.20 per cent to 2,052.75.