Tokyo shares open lower after falls on Wall Street

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Friday, tracking overnight falls on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.31 percent or 65.96 points to 21,398.27 in early trade while the broader Topix index lost 0.44 percent or 7.09 points at 1,606.41.

Global investors became cautious after seeing weaker-than-expected US economic data, sending major US indices — Dow, S&P and Nasdaq — to all lose 0.4 percent overnight.

The dollar stood at 110.68 yen, nearly flat from 110.69 yen in New York.

The softer open came after a four-day winning streak for the Tokyo market, which has already pushed some players to sell shares to lock in profits.

“Investors have become wary after seeing overnight falls in US shares, and the Tokyo market is expected to start the day lower,” Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

“The morning session should see the market drifting lower on sales particularly from speculators who had expected US shares to move higher,” it added.

Investors continued to monitor the US-China trade talks, the brokerage said.

“Yesterday, we saw media reports that the two sides are attempting to draw closer and preparing memorandums. The market still wants to see whether China would agree to a major compromise in terms of structural reforms,” Okasan said.

“This makes it difficult for investors to chase the upper resistance levels,” it said.

Shortly before the market opened, the government said Japan’s core consumer prices rose 0.8 percent in January from a year earlier, after a gain of 0.7 percent in December.

Among major shares, Toyota fell 0.40 percent to 6,704 yen. Sony fell 0.62 percent to 5,307 yen.

But Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing was up 0.18 percent at 51,180 yen.