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Tokyo: Stocks close lower as investors look for direction

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors looked for direction, and the currency market remained stable during Asian trade after volatility for the British pound around a Brexit vote.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.55 per cent, or 112.54 points, to end at 20,442.75 while the broader Topix index was down 0.32 per cent, or 4.95 points, at 1,537.77.

Investors appeared to have factored in the defeat in Britain's parliament for Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, which was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.

The pound changed hands at US$1.2860 in Asian trade, against US$1.2871 in New York, while the dollar fetched 108.45 yen against 108.72 yen in New York and 108.69 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

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Market voices on:

"The pound is seeing some buyback as traders factored in the British parliamentary vote" against a Brexit deal, said Rikiya Takebe, senior strategist at Okasan Online Securities, in a note.

Okasan also said in a note that investors were in wait-and-see mode with trade lacking a sense of direction.

In Tokyo, Honda was off 0.27 per cent to 3,210 yen while Toyota fell 0.69 per cent to 6,844 yen. Nissan was up 0.28 per cent to 906.3 yen.

Sony lost 1.67 per cent to 5,356 yen and Hitachi dropped 2.62 per cent to 3,489 yen.

AFP