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Tokyo: Stocks open 0.44% lower


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.44 per cent lower on Wednesday as the euro hit a fresh nine-year low against the dollar over further drops in oil prices and worries over Greece's exit from the eurozone.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which tumbled more than three percent Tuesday, gave up 74.93 points to 16,808.26 at the start.

The euro meanwhile changed hands at US$1.1839 in early Asian trade - its lowest level since February 2006 - before recovering to US$1.1873 against US$1.1892 in New York Tuesday afternoon.

Against the yen the euro was at 140.83 yen from 140.93 yen in US trade.

The dollar was at 118.64 yen early Wednesday against 118.50 yen in New York.

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Hiroichi Nishi, SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities, expected Tokyo stocks to continue to be pressured by rekindled worries over Greece's exit from the eurozone, lingering concern over European deflation and lower oil prices.

While drops could be limited due to expectations for buying by the Bank of Japan and the governmental pension fund, weaker-than-expected US data made optimism over the outlook of the US economy recede slightly, he said.

Data Tuesday showed the US economy's service sector slowed in December, with a deceleration in business activity, new orders and prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.74 per cent Tuesday as oil prices plummeted to a fresh multi-year low.


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