Tokyo stocks close down

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JapanBrokerage REUTERS A man looks at his watch as he passes an electronic board displaying a graph of currency rates outside a brokerage in Tokyo.

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks closed down 0.63 percent on Friday after a sell-off on Wall Street driven by weak eurozone data, the Argentine debt default and other negative news.

The Nikkei 225 index fell 97.66 points to finish at 15,523.11 while the Topix index of all first-section issues gave up 0.63 percent, or 8.12 points, to 1,281.30.

US stocks fell sharply on Thursday in a broad sell-off with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 1.88 percent, erasing all its gains since the end of 2013.

Caution also held buying in check before Friday's release of a key US jobs data.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei hit a six-month high earlier this week on solid corporate earnings but analysts were split over whether the Tokyo market would sustain the rise.

Hajime Kitano, chief equity strategist for Japan at Barclays Securities Japan, cast doubt on the Nikkei pushing higher owing to lacklustre economic conditions.

Given Wall Street's slide, “it's hard to imagine Japan alone keeps rising,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Shigeo Sugawara, senior investment officer at Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Asset Management, was more upbeat and said the negative impact of an April sales tax hike may have been overstated.

“We are examining the negative effects (of the sales tax increase), but those aren't as bad as previously thought,” he said.

Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated in a speech Friday that the Japanese economy was continuing to recover and drops in domestic demand after the tax rise would ease later this year.

In share trading, Skymark Airlines tumbled 10.52 percent to 187.0 yen after the budget airline embroiled in a row with Airbus said its quarterly loss had ballooned.

The stock has lost over one third of its value in the past few session.

Sony rose 4.68 percent to 1,855.0 yen after the electronics giant posted a surprise first-quarter net profit thanks to brisk sales of its PlayStation 4 console and a weak yen.

SoftBank fell 1.25 percent to 7,477.0 yen after French upstart telecom operator Iliad said it was bidding for a controlling stake in US carrier T-Mobile, offering an alternative to a potential tie-up with rival Sprint, which is owned by SoftBank. - Sapa-AFP



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