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Tokyo stocks open lower on trade row worries

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Pedestrians walk past the electronics stock indicator at the window of a security company in Tokyo on March 2, 2018. Tokyo stocks opened lower on March 2, taking a negative lead from Wall Street where shares tumbled after President Donald Trump vowed to enact steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, reviving fears of a trade war. / AFP PHOTO / Toshifumi KITAMURA

Tokyo stocks opened lower Friday, taking a negative lead from Wall Street where shares tumbled after President Donald Trump vowed to enact steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, reviving fears of a trade war.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 1.76 percent or 381.47 points to 21,343.00 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 1.62 percent or 28.16 points at 1,712.04.

“The Tokyo market has taken over the negative sentiment from New York,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

“Volatile trading is expected for the rest of the day,” Sato told AFP.

US stocks tumbled Thursday, the third straight drop, with investors on edge about higher interest rates even before Trump’s latest comments on trade.

Trump, at a meeting with American steel and aluminum producers, announced that next week he will sign off on measures designed to protect US companies.

US stocks sold off decisively on the news, with the Dow losing as much as 2.3 percent on worries that tariffs will exacerbate inflation and prompt retaliatory moves by trading partners.

The dollar fell to 106.18 yen in early trade from 106.25 yen in New York.

The market largely ignored the improvement in Japan’s unemployment rate — hitting the lowest level since April 1993 — announced before the market opened.

Kyocera dropped 2.66 percent to 6,057 yen following reports that the electronic components maker plans to raise investment to 100 billion yen ($942 million) for the next fiscal year.

Nissan fell 1.16 percent to 1,107.5 yen after Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi said Thursday they would deepen their alliance.


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