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Tokyo stocks down after Fed chief comments

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks sagged on Wednesday, as worries about higher interest rates continued to dog the market following testimony in the US Congress from new Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.44 per cent or 321.62 points to 22,068.24 while the broader Topix index was down 1.23 per cent or 22.10 points at 1,768.24.

"Sales are seen dominating early trade in Tokyo following falls in US stocks on worries over a rise in interest rates after Fed chief Powell's congressional testimony," SBI Securities said in a commentary.

Shares slid further in later trading as a stronger yen weighed down on investor sentiment, said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

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"The yen's current level is still acceptable but a further gain in the yen will hurt exporters," Mr Sato told AFP.

The dollar fetched 107.06 yen in Asian afternoon trade, down from 107.38 yen in New York.

Banks were among the losers, as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial dropped 2.16 per cent to 762.3 yen with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial falling 1.86 per cent at 4,686 yen.

Major exporters lost ground as Toyota fell 1.95 per cent to 7,235 yen with Nissan down 0.66 per cent at 1,125 yen.

Panasonic fell 1.06 per cent to 1,677.5 yen but Sony edged up 0.05 per cent to 5,442 yen.

AFP