Tokyo stocks fall, exporters slammed by stronger yen

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TOKYO – Tokyo stocks closed down 0.19 percent Monday, with exporters hit by a stronger yen after disappointing US jobs data dampened expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates soon.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange eased 37.10 points to 19,397.98, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.22 percent, or 3.45 points, at 1,560.71.

“We should see a correction in Japanese stocks as the stronger yen pushes down exporters,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities.

“The US economy has hit a soft patch due to the stronger dollar and weaker oil. First-quarter earnings and gross domestic product probably won’t be good,” he said.


The dollar fell to 118.97 yen on Monday from 119.62 yen on Friday after the release Friday of closely watched US payrolls data, which showed employers sharply cut back hiring in March.

The world’s leading economy generated just 126,000 net new jobs in March, half of what was expected and the worst reading since December 2013.

The fresh signs of a US slowdown dampened expectations for a rate hike in early summer.

In Tokyo stocks trade, Sharp jumped 6.06 percent to 245.0 yen after news reports that the struggling electronics firm will ask a government-backed investment fund to help spin off part of its liquid-crystal display business.

Sharp will ask the fund to invest 100 billion yen in an LCD spinoff, the Nikkei and other newspapers said.

Sharp said Monday it has been considering “drastic structural reforms” including its LCD business but nothing has been decided yet.

Toshiba plunged 4.87 percent to 487.4 yen after saying late Friday it would appoint a committee to investigate possible problems with its accounting over some infrastructure projects in fiscal 2013.

AFP

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