BCN-02 Tokyo stocks open lower ahead of BoJ policy outcome

ZCZC

BCN-02

STOCKS-JAPAN-OPEN

Tokyo stocks open lower ahead of BoJ policy outcome

TOKYO, Dec 21, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday,
tracking a fall on Wall Street as investors awaited the outcome of the Bank
of Japan’s policy meeting.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.20 percent, or 44.97 points, to
22,846.75 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.12 percent,
or 2.18 points, at 1,818.98.

Wall Street shares paused for breath on Wednesday following recent record-
setting gains, with a long-awaited US tax cut plan moving near the finish
line.

The yen was lower against the dollar after the US Congress passed the
sweeping tax reform, which President Donald Trump promised would deliver a
shot in the arm for the world’s largest economy.

A cheaper yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it boosts their
profitability.

Early trading will be done “in a tug-of-war between positive sentiment on
the yen’s fall against the dollar and negative sentiment out of lower US
stocks,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

The dollar was changing hands at 113.32 yen, slightly lower than 113.40 yen
in New York but still up from rates below the 113 mark when Tokyo closed on
Wednesday.

Nervous trading is also expected before the Bank of Japan wraps up a two-
day policy meeting later Thursday.

Investors expect the central bank will stay pat but will closely examine
remarks by BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at an ensuing press conference for
any signal of preparations to scale back its massive easing programme.

Subaru kept falling on allegations that the automaker may have cheated on
fuel efficiency data, losing 1.78 percent to 3,416 yen after the previous
day’s seven-percent plunge.

Toyota, which expects record global sales for 2018, gained 0.46 percent to
7,284 yen.

BSS/AFP/SR/1635 HRS