Tokyo Stocks Open Lower After British Snap Election News

   •    19 April 2017 09:00 WIB
stock market (en)
Tokyo Stocks Open Lower After British Snap Election News
Tokyo stocks open lower after British snap election news (Photo: AFP)., Tokyo: Tokyo stocks opened lower Wednesday, tracking a fall on US and European markets after British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election.
In a surprise announcement, May called for an early general election on June 8 as Britain prepares for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union by 2019.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.44 percent, or 81.70 points, to 18,336.89 in early trading, while the Topix index of all first-section issues declined 0.40 percent, or 5.89 points, to 1,465.64.
May's decision to hold a snap vote in Britain adds to an already heavy political calendar in 2017 with upcoming votes in France and Germany having major implications for the eurozone. The first round of the French presidential election is scheduled for Sunday.
"Selling is going to hit Japanese shares due to lower US and European stock prices and the yen's uptick," said Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito.
There was a "growing wait-and-see mood due to such uncertainties as the French election and British snap poll", he added in a commentary.
The uncertainty stoked buying of the yen, which is widely seen as a safe investment, but a stronger currency is a negative for Japanese shares as it dents exporters' profitability.
In forex markets, the dollar was changing hands at 108.57 yen, weakening from 109.05 yen in Asia earlier.
News of the British election pushed up the pound to USD1.2905, its highest level since October 2016, on hopes that it could result in a strong mandate for May and boost her negotiating power with the EU. In Asia, sterling fetched USD1.2841.
Shares of Hitachi, which has operations in Britain, slipped 0.70 percent to 575 yen while Nissan, which has two plants there, lost 0.53 percent to sit at 1,013.5 yen.
Bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial fell 1.66 percent to 645 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial was down 0.96 percent at 3,810 yen.
Toshiba rose 2.0 percent to 203.1 yen after Japan's Nikkei business daily reported the loss-hit industrial giant plans to spin off infrastructure and other major operations into separate companies in a bid to quicken management decisions.
The Asahi newspaper separately reported Japan's industry ministry was considering having government-backed firms make a joint bid for Toshiba's memory chip business with US semiconductor company Broadcom.