• Tokyo shares continue slide on weaker oil, stronger yen

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    TOKYO: Tokyo shares slipped for a second straight session Tuesday as lower oil prices hurt sentiment, with investors now eyeing a Group of Seven leaders’ summit in Japan this week.

    On currency markets, the Japanese yen edged up against the dollar, clouding the outlook for exporter profits.

    The yen’s stubborn strength comes after G7 finance chiefs on the weekend pressed Tokyo over threats to weaken its currency.

    The mood was also subdued as worries about a possible increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve as early as June hung over the market.

    “In the short term, we’re in a stage of trying to see when the US will raise borrowing costs,” Ichiro Yamada, general manager of equities at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, told Bloomberg News. “The effects of that on the yen is in focus, and there’s not much else that’s on investors’ minds.”

    The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange shed 0.94 percent, or 155.84 points, to close at 16,498.76, while the Topix index of all first-section shares lost 0.91 percent, or 12.18 points, to 1,326.50.

    Markets are now eyeing a G7 leaders’ summit in Japan beginning Thursday, which is to be attended by US President Barack Obama and other leaders.

    Going into the finance meetings, host Japan had hoped that its G7 counterparts — the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Canada — would give it some wiggle room to tame the resurgent yen.

    However, the group instead agreed on the “importance of all countries refraining from competitive devaluation,” while US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew pressed Tokyo to uphold its earlier commitments not to interfere with exchange rates.

    Shares of Toyota sank 1.39 percent to 5,429 yen and Nissan was 0.71 percent off at 1,043 yen. Japan’s leading Nikkei business daily said Yokohama-based Nissan was mulling the sale of parts supplier Calsonic Kansei.

    Mobile giant SoftBank dropped 1.17 percent to 6,059 yen following reports it is planning to sell its majority stake in Finnish smartphone gaming company Supercell.

    Falling oil prices hit energy explorer Inpex, which tumbled 1.82 percent to 822.7 yen while JX Holdings was down 0.40 percent at 422.5 yen.

    The dollar ticked down to 109.22 yen from 109.25 yen Monday in New York. AFP

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