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Tokyo stocks dive over Trump policy remarks

The Associated Press

People walk past an electronic stock board showing the Nikkei stock index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Thursday.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Stocks plunged on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, due to investor disappointment over U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s failure to clarify his economic policy measures.

The 225-issue Nikkei average fell 229.97 points, or 1.19 percent, to end at 19,134.70. On Wednesday, the key market gauge rose 63.23 points.

The TOPIX index of all first-section issues closed down 14.99 points, or 0.97 percent, at 1,535.41, after gaining 8.09 points the previous day.

Selling to lock in profits pushed down the Nikkei average as investor sentiment was dampened after Trump did not elaborate on his economic steps, such as tax breaks and fiscal stimulus, at a news conference on Wednesday, his first since the Nov. 8 presidential race, brokers said.

The yen’s strengthening against the dollar, prompted by the closely watched event, also weighted down the Tokyo market, briefly pushing down the Nikkei average nearly 300 points.

Market players accelerated selling to adjust their positions as Trump’s news conference provided “no surprise,” brokers said.

While the Nikkei average was battered by the dollar’s fall below ¥115, a first in about a month, “buying on dips and hopes for exchange-traded fund purchases by the BOJ [Bank of Japan] underpinned the market’s downside,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Co.

“Market sentiment is still strong” thanks to persistent expectations for improved corporate earnings in Japan, Shimizu stressed, noting that the dollar-yen exchange rate movements were “within expectations.”

“It was difficult for Tokyo stocks to attract purchases due to a sense of caution” over a further rise in the yen’s value against the dollar, said Akira Tanoue, senior investment strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,600 to 327 in the First Section, while 77 issues were unchanged.

Volume rose to 2.01 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.94 billion shares.

FamilyMart Uny Holdings ended down 6.54 percent as Mizuho Securities Co. revised down its investment rating on the retailer, brokers said.

Drug makers Takeda, Astellas Pharma and Shionogi were also downbeat as their U.S. peers met with selling due to Trump’s criticism against the pharmaceutical industry at Wednesday’s news conference.

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