Tokyo stocks down, eyes on Britain attack

 23 May 2017 - 9:51

Tokyo stocks down, eyes on Britain attack

AFP

Tokyo: Tokyo stocks fell Tuesday with investors on edge over the political situation in Washington and after a suspected terror attack in Britain left at least 22 people dead.

The explosion at a concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester fuelled buying of the yen -- a safe-haven currency in times of uncertainty, denting Japanese exporters' profitability.

The dollar was changing hands at 111.04 yen, down from 111.27 yen in New York and 111.35 yen in Asia earlier Monday.

The US unit was also under pressure after The Washington Post reported that US President Donald Trump had asked two top US intelligence officials in March to help push back against the FBI investigation into his campaign's possible links with Russia.

Investors are also waiting to see details of Trump's 2018 budget, with previews showing he want to slash billions of dollars in social spending over 10 years but boost military spending.

"When there's clarity on the US budget plan, it may ease concern over how the investigation over ties to Russia will impact the administration's ability to execute policies," Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index eased 0.33 percent, or 65.00 points, to end the day at 19,613.28, while the Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.16 percent, or 2.43 points, to finish at 1,565.22.

Uniqlo operator Fast retailing, a market heavyweight, fell 0.74 percent to 37,080 yen and tech giant SoftBank lost 0.31 percent to close at 8,508 yen.

Sony shares rose 0.35 percent to 3,957 yen after its CEO said a years-long restructuring was drawing to a close with operating profit set to return to 20-year highs.

Banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 0.61 percent to 691.3 yen while Toyota gained 0.05 percent to end at 6,000 yen.

Chinese restaurant chain Totenko jumped 7.02 percent to 198 yen after Tokyo's Ueno zoo said it would take its female giant panda out of a public viewing area, fuelling hopes that she is pregnant.

Totenko's main outlet is near the zoo and a rare baby panda is likely to boost the number of visitors to the area.