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Tokyo: Stocks open lower as yen firms

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday as the yen edged up against the dollar on higher oil prices, with lingering concerns about the potential delay of a US-North Korea summit.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.21 per cent or 48.48 points to 22,641.26 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.31 per cent or 5.54 points at 1,791.77.

The dollar fetched 109.71 yen in early Asian trade, down from 110.12 yen in New York late Wednesday.

"Japanese shares are seen weighed down by concerns that the summit between the US and North Korea may be postponed, and a higher yen against the dollar with the backdrop of higher oil prices," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

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The fall came after Wall Street swung to a positive finish on Wednesday, with stocks boosted by Federal Reserve minutes that said the central bank may be willing to let inflation run slightly higher.

In Tokyo, game giant Nintendo was down 2.27 per cent at 42,540 yen, while Toyota was down 1.47 per cent at 7,326 yen.

Banks were also lower, with Mitsubishi UFJ down 1.57 per cent at 701.1 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial down 1.28 per cent at 4,611 yen.

AFP