Tokyo shares end down as strong yen hits electronics firms

 15 Jun 2017 - 12:50

Tokyo shares end down as strong yen hits electronics firms

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks drifted lower Thursday, with investors looking past another record close on Wall Street as a pick-up in the yen hit electronics firms.

The market was also spooked by a report that Donald Trump was being investigated for possible obstruction of justice linked to a probe into alleged Russia meddling in the US elections.

The Washington Post report added to concerns that the tycoon's planned big-spending, tax-cutting, deregulating agenda -- which helped fuel a months-long global rally -- could founder.

The dollar struggled against the yen despite the Federal Reserve's decision to lift interest rates, as expected, and signal further hikes, brushing aside weaker inflation and consumption data in recent weeks.

The greenback bought 109.63 yen against 109.54 yen in New York but is still well down from the levels above 110 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday.

"The view on the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) was divided so sell orders picked up and pulled down the market," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.26 percent, or 51.70 points, to 19,831.82 while the Topix index of all first-section issues lost 0.23 percent, or 3.68 points, to end at 1,588.09.

Shares in Hello Kitty owner Sanrio fell 2.88 percent to 2,058 yen after the European Commission said it has launched probes into whether the firm, along with other major brands including Nike and Universal Studios, illegally blocked retailers from selling merchandise across the bloc's borders.

Technology shares lost ground after selling hit the sector in the US again on Wednesday.

Apple supplier Sharp fell 1.53 percent to 385 yen and Panasonic sank 1.63 percent to 1,452 yen.

But Toshiba shed earlier losses and ended up 1.02 percent to 316.5 yen. However, the Nikkei business daily reported the troubled industrial conglomerate will be demoted to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange because it will miss another deadline to release long-delayed earnings.

Separately, its US partner Western Digital said it is seeking a court injunction to block the sale of Toshiba's profitable memory chip division seen as key to the troubled Japanese firm's turnaround.

Toshiba said it was going ahead with the sale of the chip unit.