Tokyo: Shares open 0.46 per cent lower

[TOKYO] Tokyo shares opened 0.46 per cent lower Wednesday as investors took profits after pushing the Nikkei to a fresh seven-year high on surprise stimulus measures by the Bank of Japan.

The Nikkei index fell 77.03 points to 16,785.44 in the first minutes of trade, easing from Tuesday's close of 16,862.47.

Traders expected to see some consolidation after the Nikkei gained 10 per cent over the past four sessions, boosted by a surprise decision last week by the Bank of Japan to expand its asset-buying programme.

Investors also welcomed a decision by Japan's public pension fund - the world's biggest - to double the amount of equities in its investment portfolio.

"Last week's unexpectedly aggressive Bank of Japan easing action, combined with the Government Pension Investment Fund's stock-heavy allocation shift, has been a game-changer for equity markets, raising the floor for stock values," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

"Still, some profit-taking is eventually going to offset the new buying that takes place. But Nikkei downside is likely to be less pronounced going forward, with more investors - including the government - standing ready to buy on the dip," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Overnight in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.10 per cent while the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.28 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.33 percent.

On the foreign exchange markets, the dollar stood at 113.57 yen slightly easing from 113.63 yen in New York Tuesday.

The euro was at US$1.2550 and 142.52 yen, nearly unchanged from US$1.2545 and 142.55 yen in New York.


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