yen’s strengthening against the dollar-hit tokyo stocks

Stocks turned lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, weighed down by renewed concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to carry out his pledged economic stimulus measures.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 average fell 44.84 points, or 0.22 percent, to end at 20,099.75. On Thursday, the key market gauge gained 123.73 points.

The Topix, including all first-section issues, finished down 3.02 points, or 0.18 percent, at 1,629.99. It rose 11.14 points the previous day.

Selling outpaced buying, with investor sentiment battered by rekindled worries about the Trump administration, brokers said.

The concerns were sparked by news reports on Thursday that Robert Mueller, special prosecutor investigating possible ties between the Trump’s campaign team and Russia during the presidential election last year, would expand the scope of the probe.

The yen’s strengthening against the dollar, triggered by such growing uncertainties, put a damper on the Tokyo stock market, brokers said.

Stocks “met with selling to lock in profits after the Topix hit its highest closing level” since Aug. 19, 2015, on Thursday, said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

The market was battered by the profit-taking ahead of the weekend, said Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Co.

Some market players sat on the fence before major Japanese companies start to release their earnings reports next week, Ota said.

Meanwhile, he said that the market’s downside was supported by hopes for brisk corporate earnings after robotics firm Yaskawa Electric and other companies revised up their earnings forecasts on Thursday.

Falling issues slightly outnumbered rising ones 964 to 924 in the TSE’s first section, while 137 issues were unchanged.

Volume dropped to 1.534 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.650 billion shares.

Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho, as well as Dai-ichi Life and Sompo Holdings met with selling after their U.S. peers lost ground in New York trading on Thursday.

By contrast, Yaskawa Electric jumped 10.04 percent following an upward revision in its consolidated operating profit forecast for the year through February 2018. At one point, the stock surged to a new listing-to-date high of ¥2,938.

Other major gainers included Canon and Fanuc.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average fell 10 points to finish at 20,080.



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