Tokyo stocks open lower on weak US retail, higher yen

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TOKYO, Feb 15, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday,
tracking falls on Wall Street as weak US retail sales disappointed investors
and a higher yen weighed on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.65 percent, or 136.83 points, at
21,002.88 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.66 percent,
or 10.41 points, to 1,579.40.

“Japanese shares are being weighed down by falls in US shares and the yen’s
appreciation” against the dollar, Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst
at Monex, said in a note. The dollar fetched 110.44 yen in early Asian trade,
down from 110.69 yen in New York on Thursday.

US stocks were mostly negative after the Commerce Department reported US
retail sales had dropped 1.2 percent in December from the previous month,
marking the largest month-to-month decrease since September 2009.

Some investors in the Japanese market were also profit-taking after the
Nikkei 225 touched the 21,000 level, analysts said.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo casual wear
brand, was down 1.13 percent at 48,810 yen, and drugmaker Takeda
Pharmaceutical was down 0.71 percent at 4,456 yen.

Some carmakers were lower, with Honda off 1.51 percent at 2,995 yen and its
rival Nissan down 1.10 percent at 933.6 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 0.4 percent at 25,439.39.

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