Tokyo stocks close flat amid caution

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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 flat on Wednesday after sluggish trading as traders remained cautious about the future of the Japanese economy.

The Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.09 percent, or 13.60 points, to 15,534.82 while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.07 percent, or 0.91 points, to 1,285.92.

The benchmark index had opened 0.23 percent higher after the S&P 500 in New York closed above 2,000 for the first time following upbeat US economic indicators.

The Nikkei gave up its early gains on profit-taking, but returned to positive territory before the closing bell as selling pressure eased.

“A wait-and-see mood is strong due to uncertainty over the domestic economy,” Okasan Securities said in a comment.

Research firms have recently downgraded their annual growth forecasts for Japan as consumer spending remains weak after April's sales tax rise.

Investors are also cautious because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to reshuffle his 20-month-old cabinet on September 3.

Wall Street's bull run extended Tuesday after the Conference Board said consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month to its strongest level since February 2008.

Also, durable goods orders surged in July to a new monthly record, according to the Commerce Department.

The S&P 500 closed up 0.11 percent at 2,000.02, while the narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17 percent to 17,106.70, just short of its own record.

The dollar was at 104.00 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, compared with 104.05 yen in New York Tuesday.

In Tokyo trade, Sony rose 0.02 percent to 1,956.5 yen but Toyota fell 0.18 percent to 5,979.0 yen. - Sapa-AFP

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