Published:  12:30 AM, 14 November 2017

Tokyo stocks close lower on tax reform jitters

Tokyo stocks closed lower on Monday, hit by fears of a delay in US corporate tax cuts and selling to lock in profits after recent gains. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.32 percent, or 300.43 points, to 22,380.99, closing down for a fourth straight day. The broader Topix index was down 0.94 percent, or 16.95 points, to 1,783.49. US Senate Republicans last week released a tax plan that would put off promised steep corporate tax cuts for a year.

Fears over the possible delay sent the Dow lower on Friday, ending eight weeks of gains that had been fuelled by robust company earnings. The Tokyo market was hit by "uncertainty over the US tax reform", said Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. "Also except for major banks, the earnings season is almost over, which means most positive news is out now," Matsuno told AFP.

There is also a sense of "achievement" after the Nikkei hit a quarter-century high, he said. The bellwether index is "overheated in the short-term", said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities. "It is possible that it will correct its speed for now," he said in a commentary.

The dollar edged down to 113.44 yen Monday from 113.50 yen in New York Friday afternoon. In individual trading, Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, fell 3.05 percent to 39,410 yen. SoftBank closed down 0.29 percent at 9,676 yen.

-AFP, Tokyo

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