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Tokyo: Stocks end lower as firmer yen, US political uncertainty weigh

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[TOKYO] Japanese shares ended weaker on Thursday, as a firmer yen threatened earnings of exporters and amid fears that agreement on a key US stimulus bill will not be reached until after the presidential election on Nov 3.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 0.70 per cent at 23,474.27, while the broader Topix fell 1.09 per cent to 1,619.79.

The yen jumped to a one-month high against the US dollar on Wednesday as investors grew more concerned about stalled negotiations over a new round of US fiscal stimulus.

Some traders are also reducing their exposure to riskier assets ahead of the US elections, which could cap gains in Japanese shares. Rising Covid-19 cases in Europe and the United States also hurt sentiment.

"There are a lot of people waiting to buy stocks on the dip," said Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

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"At the same time, the upside is limited because there is still uncertainty in the market about the election and the coronavirus." The underperformers among the Topix 30 were Central Japan Railway down 3.35 per cent, followed by East Japan Railway losing 3.08 per cent.

Shares of ANA Holdings ended down 4.08 per cent. The airline hit its lowest level in more than two months after media reports that ANA will book a record net loss as the pandemic devastates global travel demand.

Weighed down partly by a stronger yen, Toyota Motor fell 0.61 per cent, Honda Motor lost 1.93 per cent and Sony Corp slid 0.98 per cent.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were industrial robot maker Fanuc up 0.26 per cent, followed by Japan Tobacco rising 0.05 per cent.

There were 40 advancers in the Nikkei index against 180 decliners The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was 730 million, compared with the average of 1.09 billion in the past 30 days.

REUTERS

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