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Tokyo: Stocks open down 0.34%


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.34 per cent lower on Wednesday, tracking falls on Wall Street and another plunge on China's main index, as trade data hinted at the fragility of Japan's recovery.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 69.41 points to 20,485.06 yen in the first minutes of trade.

Ten minutes before the opening bell, official data showed Japan's trade deficit fell a less-than-expected 72.3 per cent year-on-year in July due to falling energy costs and a pick-up in exports.

The deficit fell to 268.05 billion yen (S$3 billion) against 966.5 billion yen a year earlier, although economists had predicted the shortfall would shrink to around 53 billion yen.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.19 per cent to 17,511.34 following a mixed batch of earnings from retailers including Wal-Mart Stores.

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Investors were also worried about the Chinese economy following a 6.15 per cent drop in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index on Tuesday, its biggest fall in three weeks, they said.

"Another big drop in Chinese equities is leading to concern over the Chinese economy and a lack of transparency in the global economy," Hiroichi Nishi, a manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Bloomberg News.

On currency markets, the dollar fetched 124.38 yen, unchanged from New York trade late Tuesday.

The euro was slightly up at US$1.1031 and 137.20 yen against US$1.1029 and 137.19 yen.


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