Tokyo stocks open lower on strong yen

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday on a strong yen against the dollar, with investors digesting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to resign and the race to succeed him.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.15 percent or 35.34 points at 23,104.42 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.30 percent or 4.83 points to 1,613.35

“Falls on the US Dow are prompting selling on the Japanese market” with the yen trading at relatively high levels against the dollar, senior market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama of Monex said in a commentary.

But the downside is seen as supported by a sense of relief that a post-Abe era is unlikely to see dramatic policy shifts, particularly with the prime minister’s right-hand man Yoshihide Suga in poll position to succeed him, Okasan Online Securities strategist Yoshihiro Ito said.

Suga, who is chief cabinet secretary, is expected to win support from a majority of fellow LDP lawmakers in the ruling party’s leadership election, the mass circulation Yomiuri reported.

Suga is expected to formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday.

The dollar fetched 105.93 yen in early Asian trade, against 105.89 yen in New York late Friday.

Among major shares in Tokyo, Canon was down 2.84 percent at 1,780 yen and Toyota was down 0.51 percent 6,970 yen while game giant Nintendo was up 2.29 percent at 58,040 yen.

Japan’s jobless rate edged up by 0.1 percentage points to 2.9 percent in July, slightly better than the market consensus of 3.0 percent, official data released by the internal affairs ministry showed before the opening bell.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 0.8 percent at 28,430.05 and the broader

S&P closed down 0.2 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq ended up 0.7 percent. (AFP)