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Tokyo stocks fall in morning with eyes on US presidential debate

This Oct. 26, 2017 file photo shows the inside of the Tokyo Stock Exchange building in the Japanese capital. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks fell Wednesday morning, tracking weak U.S. stocks overnight, as investors watched the first U.S. presidential debate closely for cues about future policy direction.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 29.33 points, or 0.12 percent, from Tuesday to 23,509.77. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 7.10 points, or 0.43 percent, at 1,651.00.

    Decliners were led by bank, oil and coal product and rubber product issues.

    The U.S. dollar stayed in the upper 105 yen zone as market players watched the first of three presidential debates between U.S. Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

    At noon, the dollar fetched 105.63-67 yen compared with 105.64-74 yen in New York and 105.55-57 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1745-1745 and 124.07-11 yen against $1.1739-1749 and 124.04-14 yen in New York and $1.1680-1682 and

    123.28-32 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    Once initial selling ran out of steam, the Nikkei moved in a relatively narrow range around the 23,500 yen level, as investors were reluctant to take bold moves until the presidential debate ended, roughly in line with the close of the morning session, brokers said.

    "The market didn't give either of them a win" in the first round of their debate, said Toshikazu Horiuchi, equity strategist at IwaiCosmo Securities Co. "Many market players wanted to see how U.S. stock futures and the dollar react."

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,497 to 601, while 78 ended the morning unchanged.

    A fall in crude oil prices overnight in New York weighed on energy-related issues.

    Oil explorer Inpex lost 8.40 yen, to 1.5 percent, to 570.60 yen, Japan Petroleum Exploration sagged 26 yen, or 1.5 percent, to 1,655 yen and Idemitsu Kosan declined 37 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 2,253 yen.

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