Nikkei opens lower with few trading drivers

Pedestrians walk past an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo. (Bloomberg pic)

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday amid lingering uncertainty over the US economic outlook with a lack of fresh market-moving events after a holiday in US markets.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.58% or 126.75 points at 21,792.58 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 0.57% or 9.33 points at 1,631.16.

“The Tokyo market is seen trading in a narrow range without a sense of direction,” Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

For the Tokyo market to regain upward momentum, investors will need to see signs that US rate hikes will soon come to an end, said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

The dollar fetched ¥113.06 in early Asian trade, against ¥113.47 in London and ¥113.00 in Tokyo late Wednesday.

In Tokyo, Takeda Pharmaceutical was down 2.78% at ¥4,122 after its shareholders agreed to a US$60-billion takeover of Irish pharmaceuticals firm Shire.

Game giant Nintendo was down 2.61% at ¥32,410, Sony was down 0.92% at ¥5,880, and Panasonic was off 1.21% at ¥1,138.

But some oil-linked shares rallied following two days of losses, with oil developer Inpex edging up 0.66% to ¥1,213.5 and oil distributer Showa Shell Sekiyu up 1.42% at ¥1,711.