TOKYO: Tokyo stocks fell 0.44 percent at the start Wednesday, tracking falls on Wall Street and as a closely watched Japanese business confidence survey came in weaker than expected.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 85.42 points to 19,121.57 in the first few minutes of trading.
Shortly before markets opened, the Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey showed confidence among large manufacturers stood at plus 12 in March, flat from the previous report and missing expectations that the level would come in at 14, although sentiment among non-manufacturers was more upbeat.
The survey of more than 10,000 companies — marking the difference between the percentage of firms that are optimistic and those that see conditions as unfavourable — is the most comprehensive indicator of how Japan Inc. is faring.
The survey comes after a slate of weak data underscored weakness in the world’s number three economy, and suggests firms are cautious about a recovery.
In forex trading, the dollar slipped to 119.93 yen early Wednesday from 120.06 yen in New York where it got a boost from a positive American consumer confidence report.
A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and shrinks the value of repatriated profits.