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Tokyo’s Nikkei closes down for fifth straight session

Tokyo:Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index fell marginally for a fifth consecutive session on Tuesday as a higher yen and concern about the global economy weighed on the market.
The Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.01 percent, or 2.34 points, to close at 20,408.54, but the broader Topix index inched up 0.01 percent, or 0.13 points, at 1,499.09.
Tokyo shares opened higher on bargain hunting, but the early gains were eroded by noon as the yen climbed given its safe-haven status, which usually depresses equity trading.
“The yen’s current level is still acceptable but a further gain in the yen would really hurt investor sentiment,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities Co. Ltd.
“Today’s decline underscored the present weakness of the market,” Horiuchi told AFP.
The dollar changed hands at 107.96 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 108.07 yen in New York on Monday.
Newly released indicators — including the US ISM manufacturing index — were not very strong, prompting traders to flee to the safe-haven currency, analysts said.
The market’s “assumption that the slowing global economy would recover later this year, bolstered by the (strong) US economy, has been shaken by the spread of trade frictions to other countries such as Mexico,” Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.
In Tokyo, Nintendo fell 2.25 percent to 37,650 yen with Sony down 1.62 percent at 5,084 yen.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 3.26 percent to 9,298 yen.
Banks lacked clear direction, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial trading down 0.02 percent at 3,739 yen while Mitsubishi UFJ was up 0.32 percent at 498.6 yen.

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