• Tokyo stocks close down 0.21%

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    TOKYO: Tokyo stocks slipped 0.21 percent on Friday after the greenback fell sharply on jitters over a US jobs report for May, seen as a key sign of the state of the world’s biggest economy.

    The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 26.49 points at 12,877.53, clawing back deeper losses earlier in the session, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 1.29 percent, or 13.82 points, to 1,056.95.

    “The sharp dollar fall and continuing jitters over forthcoming US jobs data (due Friday) spell anxiety for Japan investors, which will offset all other concerns,” SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires.

    Swings in the Nikkei, which was down 1.33 percent by the lunch break, stoked rumours of government intervention through so-called price keeping operations — buying Japanese stocks to counter heavy price declines.

    The dollar has tumbled on the yen ahead of the key payrolls reports later in the day, seen as a key marker of when the US Federal Reserve may taper off its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying programme known as quantitative easing.

    The greenback’s weakness on the yen is a negative for the Tokyo stock market as the value of Japan’s currency affects exporters’ profitability.

    In Tokyo forex trade, the dollar fetched 96.43 yen, weakening from 97.07 yen on Thursday in New York and 99.15 yen in Asian trade Thursday.

    The dollar at one point sunk as low as 95.88 yen in New York.

    Tokyo’s tumble on Friday comes after The Nikkei dropped nearly 4 percent Wednesday and lost another 0.85 percent on Thursday, closing below the 13,000 level for the first time in two months and dragging the Tokyo market closer to bear-market territory, usually defined as 20 percent down from its peak.

    Volatile trading has become commonplace on Japan’s premier bourse since the market plunged 7.3 percent on May 23, sparking weeks of wild volatility after a six-month rally that put Tokyo among the world’s top-performing bourses.

    On Friday Sony was down 0.80 percent to 1,854 yen, Canon slipped 2.59 percent to 3,185 yen, Toyota fell 2.83 percent to 5,480 yen while Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing was up 5.56 percent to 31,100 yen.

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