Tokyo stocks open lower with lack of fresh headlines

Pedestrians walk past an electric quotation board

(Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP)

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Tokyo stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday, with the currency market stable in Asian trade after the British pound fluctuated before and after the Brexit deal vote.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.19% or 38.39 points to 20 516.90 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.23% or 3.60 points at 1 539.12.

Investors appeared to have factored in the defeat in Britain’s parliament for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.

The pound changed hands at $1.2849 in early Asian trade, against $1.2871 in New York, while the dollar fetched 108.58 yen against 108.72 yen in New York and 108.69 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

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“The pound is seeing some buyback as traders factored in the British parliamentary vote” against a Brexit deal, said Rikiya Takebe, senior strategist at Okasan Online Securities, in a note.

“As the Japanese market rallied in the previous session before the rise in the US market, we are expecting trade in a narrow range today” in the Tokyo market, Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex, said in a commentary.

Analysts said investor sentiment remained positive but the market lacked fresh headlines to boost share prices.

In Tokyo, automakers were among losers, with Honda off 1.27% at 3 178 yen, Toyota down 0.73% at 6 841 yen and Nissan down 0.69% at 897.4 yen.

Sony was 1.41% lower at 5 370 yen and Hitachi was down 2.23% at 3 503 yen.

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