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Tokyo: Stocks close lower as strong yen weighs on sentiment

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks fell on Friday as a higher yen weighed on the market, while investors were also cautious ahead of the release of US inflation figures.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.24 per cent or 56.61 points to close at 23,653.82, leaving it down 0.26 per cent over the week.

The broader Topix index was down 0.63 per cent or 11.85 points at 1,876.24 with a weekly decline of 0.22 per cent.

"Players were displeased with the strong yen," said Shinichi Yamamoto, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

The US dollar was at 111.22 yen in Asian trade, down from 111.29 yen in New York, where the greenback fell on weak jobs-related data and European Central Bank minutes suggesting a tightening of monetary policy.

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On Wall Street on Thursday, all three major US indices finished solidly higher at fresh records as investors appeared to jump at the chance to buy stocks at lower prices following Wednesday's modest pullback.

"A wait-and-see mood spread in the afternoon ahead of US CPI figures," which will be announced later in the day, Mr Yamamoto told AFP.

In Tokyo, major exporters faced selling pressure on a strong yen, which erodes their profitability.

Toyota was down 0.66 per cent at 7,578 yen, while Sony dropped 1.05 per cent to 5,525 yen.

But Nintendo jumped 1.13 per cent to 44,620 yen on hopes of strong earnings.

Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing surged 6 per cent to 49,610 yen after it reported quarterly earnings that beat market expectations, booking a net profit of 78.5 billion yen (S$937.8 million) in the three months to November.

AFP

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