TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday as the yen edged up against the dollar, weighing on Japanese exporters.
The dollar was down at 113.65 yen, compared with 113.95 yen in New York on Tuesday and 114.42 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Anticipation is high ahead of Wednesday’s congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who is expected to update lawmakers on the outlook for the economy and further interest rate increases.
“Japanese stocks will see sales-dominated trading following the end of a cheaper yen period,” said Okasan Online Securities strategist Yoshihiro Ito in a commentary.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.27 percent, or 55.34 points, to 20,140.14 in the first few minutes of trading, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.25 percent, or 4.02 points, at 1,63.12.
A stronger yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it reduces their repatriated profits.
Wall Street stocks were little changed by the close Tuesday, rebounding from a mid-session swoon sparked by unease over Donald Trump Jr’s interactions with Russian interests.
Markets had been chugging through a sleepy session until the midday release of emails by the US president’s son showing the younger Trump embraced Russia’s efforts to support his father’s presidential campaign.
US stocks turned sharply negative for a brief period, while the news also jolted markets in Europe. But they steadied soon after, with the Dow Industrial Average closing flat at 21,409.07.
In Tokyo, automakers were lower with Toyota trading down 1.30 percent at 6,181 yen and Nissan slipping 0.47 percent at 1,149 yen.
Financials also fell, with Mitsubishi UFJ retreating 1.13 percent at 742 yen, its rival SMFG down 1.00 percent at 4,334 yen and brokerage house Nomura falling 0.41 percent at 667 yen.