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Tokyo: Stocks open lower

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Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday, taking a breather from a recent string of gains as investors watched for any developments in Brexit talks in Brussels.

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday, taking a breather from a recent string of gains as investors watched for any developments in Brexit talks in Brussels.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.08 per cent or 18.91 points at 22,454.01 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.24 per cent or 3.90 points at 1,627.61.

"It is only natural that the market takes a break after the Nikkei rallied more than 1,000 points in the past four trading days," said Seiichi Suzuki, senior market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

With these small drops this morning, "we can say the bottom is solid, as is the US market," he said.

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On Wall Street on Wednesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones index slipped 0.1 per cent as lingering questions over Brexit talks and the state of US-China trade relation offset another batch of good earnings.

Equity analysts pointed to doubts about whether revived efforts between British leader Boris Johnson and European Union officials will yield a Brexit agreement that can win support in Britain.

"Bearish investors are hoping for a hard Brexit scenario as they had already sold a lot," Mr Suzuki at Tokai Tokyo said.

"If the outcome is a no-deal or postponing a conclusion, it would provide them a buy-back opportunity," he said.

The US dollar held steady, trading at 108.72 yen against 108.71 yen in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

In individual stocks trade, SoftBank Group rose 0.42 per cent to 4,268 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported it was planning to propose a US$5 billion financial package to WeWork.

"A big cash injection would wipe out worries for now but no-one knows whether it would be enough or whether they would still need to solve fundamental problems such as questions about its (WeWork's) business model," Mr Suzuki said.

Nissan was down 1.04 per cent at 681.4 yen and Nintendo lost 2.26 per cent to 39,250 yen.

AFP