Tokyo stocks down as trade war rhetoric rumbles on

Tokyo stocks down as trade war rhetoric rumbles on
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Tokyo: Tokyo stocks fell Friday giving up earlier gains in thin trading, with traders eyeing a new volley of US-China trade war rhetoric and waiting for crucial US jobs data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.36 percent, or 77.90 points, to close at 21,567.52. Over the week, it gained 0.53 percent.

The broader Topix index was down 0.31 percent, or 5.31 points, at 1,719.30 but marked a weekly gain of 0.17 percent.

Tokyo shares opened higher as a weak yen — a positive factor for Japanese exporters — boosted market sentiment.

But investors started cashing in profits in afternoon trade, pushing the bellwether Nikkei index into negative territory, brokers said.

“The fact that early gains were easily erased showed that the Tokyo market has yet to be on course to a steady recovery,” said Shinichi Yamamoto, broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.

“Trading was thin as players were on the sidelines ahead of US jobs data to be released later in the day,” Yamamoto told AFP.

Market players scrutinise the monthly jobs report from the US Department of Labor, set to be released later Friday, for clues on US monetary policy.

Investors are also eyeing the latest developments in a brewing trade war between the United States and China.

Wall Street stocks moved higher for the third straight session on Thursday as investors judged recent US-China trade war fears may be overblown.

But after the markets closed, US President Donald Trump threatened an additional $100 billion in tit-for-tat tariffs on Beijing.

And China on Friday afternoon responded by saying it was ready to pay “any cost” in a trade war with the US.

The dollar was trading at 107.39 yen, compared with 107.38 yen in New York Thursday afternoon.

Sony shares lost 0.15 percent to 5,205 yen and Toyota fell 0.32 percent to 6,728 yen.

Online broker Monex Group surged 20.00 percent to 480 yen after announcing it would buy virtual currency exchange Coincheck, which was hit by a massive hack earlier this year.

Takeda Pharmaceutical fell 5.03 percent to 5,000 yen on reports that it was moving towards a giant takeover of Ireland-based drugmaker Shire.