Tokyo stocks lower after Obama speech

2011-09-09 07:04

Tokyo stocks were marginally lower in early trade today as investors digested US President Barack Obama’s announcement of a $447 billion (R3.2 trillion) jobs plan amid persistent concerns over the American economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 9.38 points at 8 783.74 after the first 30 minutes of trading.

Addressing Congress, Obama said the jobs plan would give a “jolt” to the stalled economy at an urgent time for a nation facing a deep economic and political crisis.

“The sum of the jobs plan was bigger than expected but it will take some more time to see it actually implemented. The market reaction was limited,” said Yumi Nishimura, senior market analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Analysts said losses today were likely to be limited as investors await a string of Chinese data due today as well as the Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting in France.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 119.05 points to finish at 11 295.81 yesterday as market players waited for the Obama speech.

The euro bought $1.3922 in early Asian trade, up from $1.3880 late yesterday in New York, where Europe’s common currency fell after the European Central Bank signalled it would stop hiking interest rates.

The euro stayed weak against the yen, trading at ¥107.94 compared with ¥107.57 in New York.

The dollar traded at ¥77.54, almost unchanged from New York.

Just before the opening bell in Tokyo revised government data showed Japan’s economy shrank an annualised 2.1% in the April-June quarter following the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster.

It was more severe than last month’s preliminary reading of a 1.3% shrinkage, but was in line with market expectations.

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