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Tokyo stocks dip 0.12% by midday, Nikkei 225 sheds 22.75pts

Tokyo stocks dip 0.12% by midday, Nikkei 225 sheds 22.75pts

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks lost early gains Wednesday morning, slipping 0.12 percent following a weak lead from Wall Street as upbeat US data bolstered the case for an early Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo STOCK EXCHANGE gave up 22.75 points to 19,690.70 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was off 0.01 percent, 0.11 points, at 1,587.48.

Sitting at its highest levels in 15 years, the Nikkei moved in and out of negative territory after rising at the open.

“It s a tug of war,” Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, told Bloomberg News.

“It seems the market is overheated in the short-term, but on the other hand there s strong demand on the back of a brighter outlook on the (Japan) economy and corporate earnings.”

Wall Street finished lower Tuesday after positive economic data spurred fresh speculation the Fed could move more quickly to raise interest rates, as investors search for clues about when the central bank will pull finally announce a hike.

Data showed sales of new single-family homes surged in February to a seven-year high, while consumer prices rose for the first time in four months, suggesting a pick up in the world s top economy.

The Dow fell 0.58 percent, the S&P 500 slipped 0.61 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq lost 0.32 percent.