Tokyo stocks close lower as strong yen dents exporters

 26 Dec 2015 - 0:00

Tokyo stocks close lower as strong yen dents exporters
Japan's economy saw a slight uptick in the July-September quarter, rising 0.3%. AFP


Tokyo: Tokyo's benchmark stock index closed lower Friday, its fifth straight day of losses, as a stronger yen dented exporters, with most Asian markets shut for a public holiday.

However, mainland Chinese indices rose in afternoon trade, with Shanghai advancing 0.10 percent and Shenzhen edging up 0.14 percent.

Taiwan added 0.47 percent in afternoon deals.

Most other regional financial markets are closed.

Tokyo was dragged down by a stronger yen -- bad news for exporters' profitability -- with the dollar slipping to 120.11 yen against 120.28 yen on Thursday in New York. 

"Then yen is back where it was before US interest rates were raised," Nomura strategist Juichi Wako told Bloomberg News.

"The fact that markets aren't pricing in the next interest rate hike in the US is the biggest factor" for the dollar's weakness, Wako said. 

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 0.11 percent, or 20.63 points, to 18,769.06 by the close.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.49 percent, or 7.43 points, to 1,516.19.

Shortly before markets opened Friday, official figures showed Japan's inflation rate ticked up in November -- the first gain in five months -- but still-weak household spending weighed on the world's number three economy.

In share trading, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dropped 4.64 percent to 517.5 yen after it said Thursday it was postponing delivery of the first made-in-Japan passenger jet by one year to the second quarter of 2018.

The company cited "several issues" discovered after the jet's maiden test flight last month.

Toshiba fell 1.81 percent to 216.6 yen after its chief executive told the leading Nikkei business daily that the crisis-hit firm may deepen the scope of its restructuring.

The shares were hammered this week after Toshiba warned over a record $4.5 billion annual loss and thousands of layoffs following an embarrassing profit-padding scandal.

Energy explorer Inpex fell 1.61 percent to 1,161 yen, while JX Holdings was down 0.45 percent to 504.4 yen.

Toyota slipped 0.75 percent to 7,483 yen and Sony fell 0.55 percent to 2,933.5 yen.