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Tokyo: Stocks open lower on US-China trade worries

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday after drops on Wall Street as Washington threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.36 per cent or 82.42 points to 22,664.28 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.11 per cent or 1.99 points at 1,767.77.

"Investors are worried as they don't know whether the (US-China) trade war is escalating or the countries are actually looking for a compromise plan," said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

"While concerns about the global economy linger, however, there are some buybacks for companies whose earnings are good but are priced low," providing support for the market, he added in a commentary.

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Washington said Wednesday it may jack up the tariff rate on the next US$200 billion in Chinese imports it plans to target as it pressures Beijing to reform its trade practices.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Donald Trump asked him to consider increasing the proposed tariffs to 25 per cent from the planned 10 percent.

In Tokyo trade, selling hit companies with close business ties with China.

Machinery maker Komatsu fell 2.52 per cent to 3,277 yen and factory robot-maker Fanuc was down 1.34 per cent at 22,075 yen.

Sony climbed 2.01 per cent to 6,228 yen.

The dollar was trading at 111.64 yen against 111.62 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

AFP