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Tokyo stocks fall after surge, despite US rate hike concerns easing

This Oct. 1, 2020 file photo shows the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Nikkei stock index ended slightly lower Wednesday as caution remained about chasing the upside a day after a surge, despite eased concerns over an earlier-than-expected U.S. interest rate hike and stimulus tapering.

    The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed down 9.24 points, or 0.03 percent, from Tuesday at 28,874.89. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 10.39 points, or 0.53 percent, lower at 1,949.14.

    The U.S. dollar remained firm in the upper 110 yen range after the currency was bought following overnight gains in U.S. stocks, dealers said.

    At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 110.87-89 yen compared with 110.62-72 yen in New York and 110.48-50 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

    The euro was quoted at $1.1938-1939 and 132.36-40 yen against $1.1937-1947 and 132.08-18 yen in New York and $1.1901-1902 and 131.49-53 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.

    The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from Tuesday's close at 0.050 percent.

    The Nikkei opened higher after ending nearly 900 points up the previous day, but momentum slowed before fluctuating in the afternoon amid a lack of fresh trading cues.

    In a hearing before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expressed a cautious stance about raising interest rates too early, saying recent accelerated inflation was likely to be temporary.

    "Concerns about a rate hike have abated, but investors remained reluctant about making big moves following the spike in shares the day before," said Koichi Fujishiro, a senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

    Some are also awaiting purchasing managers' indexes to be released by data analytics firm IHS Markit later in the day, brokers said.

    On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,272 to 812, while 109 ended unchanged. Decliners were led by insurance and real estate issues.

    Marine transportation issues sagged after posting sharp rises the previous day.

    Nippon Yusen fell 60 yen, or 1.1 percent, to 5,610 yen, and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines slid 60 yen, or 1.1 percent, to 5,240 yen.

    Meanwhile, chip-related issues rose, tracking gains overnight for peers in the tech-heavy Nasdaq index.

    Advantest gained 190 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 10,190 yen, and Screen Holdings advanced 180 yen, or 1.7 percent, to 10,950 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section rose to 944.36 million shares from Tuesday's 928.66 million shares.

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