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Tokyo: Stocks close lower

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed lower on Monday, with investors sitting on the sidelines as fears grew of a US-China trade war and the yen appreciated.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched down 0.08 per cent, or 17.86 points, to close at 22,507.32, while the broader Topix index was down 0.56 per cent, or 9.68 points, at 1,732.90.

"Caution about further escalation in US-China trade frictions is still strong," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

"The yen's slight appreciation could keep investors from active trade," he added.

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New York stocks rose on Friday after a positive US jobs report.

But Beijing has threatened to impose levies on US$60 billion of American goods after US President Donald Trump's administration upped the ante in its plans for additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth US$200 billion.

The dollar traded at 111.29 yen against 111.25 yen in New York Friday, but was down from 111.71 yen in Tokyo before the weekend.

A stronger yen often drags down the Tokyo stock market as it clouds the outlook for Japanese exporters by making their products less competitive abroad. It also reduces profits when repatriated.

Toyota dropped 1.20 per cent to 7,133 yen after losing 0.85 per cent on Friday on investor disappointment with the car giant's decision to leave unchanged its full-year guidance, despite robust first-quarter results.

Panasonic fell 1.36 per cent to 1,449.5 yen and Sony lost 0.60 per cent to 6,074 yen.

AFP