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Tokyo stocks fall 0.67pc on commodity slump, weak China data

Tokyo stocks fall 0.67pc on commodity slump, weak China dataTOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 0.67 percent lower Friday, as tumbling commodities prices and weak Chinese manufacturing data aggravate worries about the global economy.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 139.42 points to end at 20,544.53, while the Topix index of all first-section shares eased 0.54 percent, or 9.02 points, to 1,655.86.

A private gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly fell to the lowest reading for 15 months in July, heightening concern about the extent of the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

“The numbers coming out of China are bad,” said Masanori Ikunaga, a fund manager at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

“The market is watching if inventory adjustments make some progress and bottom out in the July to September period and thereafter begin helping the economy, or if there’s a more lasting effect.”

Tokyo picked up a negative lead from Wall Street where stocks dropped for a third straight session Thursday on the back of disappointing earnings from major companies including Caterpillar and American Express.

The Dow fell 0.67 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.57 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.49 percent.

On commodities markets, gold was sitting at five-year lows as the expected rate hike sees traders flee from the safer sanctuary of the precious metal in search of better returns.

While oil prices rose Friday, they continue to be blasted by the strong dollar and worries about a global supply glut.

“Cheaper oil and US earnings, which were hit by the stronger dollar, are negative factors,” Yutaka Miura, a technical analyst at Mizuho Securities, told Bloomberg News.

Investor are also keeping an eye on free-trade talks as negotiators from 12 nations, including the US and Japan, meet in Hawaii next week in a bid to push through the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Washington signalled that “considerable progress” has been made toward a final deal, which would encompass about 40 percent of the world economy.

In Tokyo trading, energy-linked shares dropped after crude oil entered a bear market with JGC Group declining 2.40 percent to 2,113 yen.

Market heavy weight Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo clothing chain, dropped 1.74 percent to 58,250 yen while construction equipment giant Komatsu fell 1.55 percent to 2,193 yen.

Sony was up 0.92 percent to 3,694.5 yen and Toyota was flat at 8,277 yen.

In Tokyo forex trade, the dollar was at 123.92 yen, slightly up from 123.90 yen in New York late Thursday.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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