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Tokyo: Stocks close lower as US-China trade row weighs

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed lower on Monday as investors locked in profits amid fresh concerns about the US-China trade row.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.56 per cent or 123.06 points to 21,755.84, while the broader Topix index ended down 1.03 per cent or 16.45 points at 1,587.80.

"Profit-taking led trade with sentiment weighed down by uncertainty over the US-China trade row," said Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities.

Wall Street closed lower on Friday after reports that US President Donald Trump is mulling severe new restrictions on investment in China.

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The US and China have been locked in a bruising trade war for more than a year, with the world's two biggest economies imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

Despite ongoing trade pressure with the US, China's manufacturing sector showed unexpected signs of improvement with two indices showing on Monday that manufacturing activity edged up in September.

Later this week, market participants were awaiting key events and data, including the Bank of Japan's Tankan quarterly business confidence survey on Tuesday, a sales tax hike also on Tuesday, and US jobs data on Friday, analysts said.

Negative impact on domestic demand because of the tax hike "will likely be smaller than the previous tax hike" in 2014, said Mitsuhiro Shibuya, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

In individual share trading, IT investor SoftBank Group fell 2.61 per cent to 4,240 yen.

Carmakers were also losers, with Toyota closing down 2.07 per cent at 7,216 yen, Honda down 1.46 per cent at 2,798.5 yen and Nissan off 1.72 per cent at 674.1 yen.

The dollar was trading at 107.85 yen against 107.95 yen in New York on Friday.

AFP