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Tokyo: Stocks close lower weighed by rate hike fears

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday, extending falls on Wall Street over worries about higher interest rates, with investors waiting for earnings results.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.28 per cent, or 62.80 points, to end at 22,215.32, while the broader Topix index was down 0.11 per cent, or 2.02 points, at 1,767.73.

"Following falls in US shares, Tokyo shares are seen dominated by sales before some bargain-hunting purchases emerge," SBI Securities said in a commentary.

Investors could "sit on the sidelines as the earnings season is fully in progress," it said.

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In Tokyo share trading, Canon fell 1.64 per cent at 3,833 yen ahead of its earnings report due later on Wednesday.

Semiconductor equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron dropped 2.01 per cent to 19,415 yen ahead of its earnings report due later in the day.

Shares in Takeda Pharmaceutical plunged 7.02 per cent to 4,510 yen, after the board of Irish pharmaceutical company Shire said it would recommend a new £46 billion (S$85.2 billion) takeover bid by Takeda.

Automakers were up, with Toyota climbing 0.81 per cent to 7,168 yen and Honda 1.20 per cent to 3,785 yen.

Trading firm Itochu edged up 0.25 per cent to 2,187 yen after a report by the business daily Nikkei said it would withdraw from a plan to build a nuclear power facility in Turkey due to snowballing costs of safety measures.

Kobe Steel tumbled 3.55 per cent to 1,138 yen after the company confirmed that it is under investigation by prosecutors over its data-falsifying scandal.

"We'll cooperate sincerely with authorities," Kobe Steel said in a statement.

The dollar fetched 109.06 yen in Asian trade, against 108.65 yen in New York.

On Tuesday, Wall Street stocks tumbled on worries about higher interest rates and disappointment over US corporate earnings reports that have been not strong enough to propel the market upwards, with Dow closing 1.7 per cent lower.

AFP