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Tokyo: Shares down at open

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[TOKYO] Tokyo shares opened modestly lower on Tuesday following a lacklustre lead from Wall Street and a slide in crude prices.

Petroleum-linked shares dropped after oil prices slumped on Monday, halting last week's rallies amid concern increased output in Iraq and Nigeria will compound a global crude oversupply.

Traders are now awaiting a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at the Jackson Hole symposium of global central bankers Friday, hoping she will give some clues about policy direction.

"With investors waiting for (Fed chief) Yellen, it's unlikely that we'll see a strong direction in the stock market," Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist with SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.

"(But) oil, which had been rebounding, has started to correct again," dampening demand for petroleum-linked shares.

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In early Tokyo trade, energy explorer Inpex and refiner JX Holdings both lost more than two per cent.

In opening deals, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.29 per cent, or 48.37 points, to 16,549.82, following two sessions of gains.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 0.30 per cent, or 3.96 points, to 1,299.72.

On Wall Street, the Dow and the broad-based S&P 500 closed 0.1 per cent lower on Monday, while the tech-rich Nasdaq ticked up 0.1 per cent.

In forex markets, the US dollar slumped to 100.07 yen from 100.32 yen in New York, weighing on exporters including Toyota and Honda.

A rise in the yen is a negative for Japan Inc, making exporters less competitive and hurting their profitability.

Toyota dropped more than one per cent in early deals and Honda was off more than two per cent.


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