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Tokyo stocks snap four-day winning streak

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Pedestrians walk in front of an electronics stock indicator showing share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange on March 14, 2018. Tokyo stocks opened lower on March 14, with investor sentiment cautious after US President Donald Trump replaced his top diplomat and reports said he is planning new tariffs on China. / AFP PHOTO / Kazuhiro NOGI

Tokyo stocks fell Wednesday, snapping a four-day winning streak, as investors locked in profits after US President Donald Trump replaced his top diplomat and reports said he is planning new tariffs on China.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.87 percent, or 190.81 points, to 21,777.29. The broader Topix index slipped 0.45 percent, or 7.82 points, to 1,743.21.

“Investors cashed in short-term profit following the fourth straight day of gains,” Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities, told AFP.

The Tokyo market got off to a poor start after US and European stocks fell Tuesday on growing worries about a trade war.

And markets reacted with worry to Trump’s decision to sack his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and name current CIA chief Mike Pompeo to succeed him.

Analysts viewed Tillerson as a fan of free markets and fear Pompeo may take a harsher line on trade issues.

“While the game of revolving chairs in Washington plays on, there is more risk aversion creeping into play as geopolitical uncertainty ratchets higher with the more hawkish foreign policy leaning Mike Pompeo now the face of US foreign policy,” said Stephen Innes, who heads Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

“Equity investors remain extremely cautious about trade war escalations.”

US media reports on Tuesday also said Trump was weighing a crackdown on China over alleged intellectual property theft, and hefty new tariffs on the tech sector would be announced as soon as next week.

In Tokyo trade, machinery maker Komatsu dropped 1.51 percent to 3,642 yen with factory-automation equipment maker Fanuc down 0.94 percent at 27,230 yen.

Toyota slipped 0.43 percent to 6,939 yen and Panasonic fell 0.20 percent to 1,688.5 yen but Sony gained 0.82 percent to 5,400 yen.

The dollar was trading at 106.51 yen against 106.56 yen in New York on Tuesday.


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