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Tokyo stocks close lower on stronger yen

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Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday as Japanese exporters were weighed by a stronger yen, a day after the key index closed at a 26-year high.

The Nikkei 225 index lost 0.76 percent, or 183.37 points, to end at 23,940.78 while the broader Topix index was down 0.51 percent, or 9.84 points, at 1,901.23.

The dollar dropped below the 110-yen mark for the first time since September, trading at 109.87 yen from 110.16 yen earlier in the day and well off the 110.32 yen in New York.

The dollar was hit partly by worries over US protectionism as Canadian, US and Mexican negotiators kicked off a fresh round of talks on the NAFTA free-trade pact, dealers said.

“Profit-taking took place as the higher yen against the dollar worked as a negative factor,” SBI Securities said in a commentary.

But investor focus would shift to corporate earnings, which start this week, Rakuten Securities strategist Masayuki Kubota said in a note to clients.

Sony dropped 5.05 percent to 5,442 yen after a brokerage firm downgraded its outlook on the stock.

Game giant Nintendo fell 1.91 percent to 48,640 yen after days of rallies.

Automakers were among the losers, with Toyota closing down 0.86 percent at 7,673 yen, Honda falling 1.43 percent to 3,994 yen and Nissan easing 0.29 percent to 1,172.5 yen.

But Mazda rose 0.59 percent to 1,596 yen after a report said it plans to make electric vehicles with major Chinese automaker Changan Automobile.


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