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Tokyo: Stocks close lower on trade worries

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed lower on Monday, weighed down by investor caution over US trade tensions with Canada and China.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.69 per cent or 157.77 points to close at 22,707.38, while the broader Topix index ended down 0.87 per cent or 15.04 points at 1,720.31.

After US markets closed mixed on Friday, news emerged that US-Canada talks ended without an agreement on rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), though discussions will resume this week.

This replaced optimism at the start of last week following news the US and Mexico had agreed a revised Nafta trade pact.

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Investor sentiment has also been hit by speculation that President Donald Trump's administration will impose tariffs on a further US$200 billion of Chinese imports as soon as this week.

"The negative impact from the US-China trade war is bigger for China than for the US," said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

"Japanese corporate performance has been sound and seems to have received no major negative impact" from the trade frictions, but some knock-on effects such as a decline in orders from China-related companies has been observed, he added.

In Asia, the dollar stood at 111.91 yen on Monday compared with 111.02 yen in New York on Friday afternoon.

Shares in carmakers dropped on the trade concerns, with Toyota losing 1.64 per cent to 6,816 yen and Honda off 1.09 per cent at 3,256 yen.

China-related shares were lower, with industrial robots maker Fanuc falling 1.97 per cent to 21,345 yen and construction machine maker Komatsu ending down 0.60 per cent at 3,142 yen.

Renesas Electronics dived 6.42 per cent to 786 yen after weekend reports that it was in the final stages of inking a six-billion-dollar deal to buy a US microchip maker.

AFP