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Nikkei hits three-week low on yen’s surge

JIJI

The Nikkei average tumbled to the lowest closing level in almost three weeks Wednesday, with the higher yen driving down export-oriented issues.

The 225-issue Nikkei average ended down 307.19 points, or 2.10 percent, at 14,299.69, marking the lowest finish since March 20 and extending its losing streak to a fourth day. On Tuesday, the key market gauge slipped 201.97 points.

The Topix index of all TSE first-section issues fell 24.12 points, or 2.05 percent, to close at 1,150.44, after losing 22.28 points the previous day.

Tokyo stocks came under heavy selling pressure, with export-oriented names performing poorly after fading hopes for additional monetary easing steps by the Bank of Japan pushed the yen higher against other major currencies, brokers said.

At a press conference after the central bank’s closely watched Policy Board meeting through Tuesday, BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said he has no immediate plans for additional easing.

The Tokyo market lost further ground in the afternoon partly due to futures-led selling, a broker said.

Also, interest rate-sensitive real estate stocks slumped, hit by selling from investors who had expected hints of additional easing steps by the BOJ, brokers said.

Although the yen fell back somewhat in Tokyo trading, stocks extended losses as investors refrained from buying in view of the small size of Wall Street’s rebound overnight, said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10.27 points Tuesday after slipping some 320 points over three sessions.

With few trading incentives prior to a wave of April-June corporate earnings reports, Tokyo stocks will likely be influenced by external factors, including U.S. equities and exchange rates, Miura said.

JGBs log modest rise

Japanese government bond futures staged a moderate rebound in Tokyo Wednesday, helped by purchases promoted by falling stock prices.

The lead June futures contract on 10-year JGBs closed up 0.07 point from Tuesday at 144.91 on the Osaka Exchange. Volume increased slightly to 13,800 contracts from 13,168.