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Tokyo stocks close lower as investors look for direction


Pedestrians walk past a stock indicator board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on January 7, 2019. – Tokyo stocks closed up more than two percent on January 7, 2019, after European and US markets roared last week on strong US data and dovish comments from the US Federal Reserve. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP)

Tokyo stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors looked for direction, and the currency market remained stable during Asian trade after volatility for the British pound around a Brexit vote.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.55 percent, or 112.54 points, to end at 20,442.75 while the broader Topix index was down 0.32 percent, or 4.95 points, at 1,537.77.

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 $1.2860 in Asian trade, against $1.2871 in New York, while the dollar fetched 108.45 yen against 108.72 yen in New York and 108.69 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“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.

Okasan also said in a note that investors were in wait-and-see mode with trade lacking a sense of direction.

In Tokyo, Honda was off 0.27 percent to 3,210 yen while Toyota fell 0.69 percent to 6,844 yen. Nissan was up 0.28 percent to 906.3 yen.

Sony lost 1.67 percent to 5,356 yen and Hitachi dropped 2.62 percent to 3,489 yen.

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