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Tokyo Stocks End Lower Amid U.S. Rate Hike Concerns

Tokyo stocks continued to fall on Thursday, tracking overnight declines on Wall Street amid concern over continued U.S. interest rate hikes.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock index, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average, hit its lowest since June 2 by losing 140.82 points, or 0.44 percent, from Wednesday to close at 31,626.

The broader Topix index, meanwhile, finished 7.78 points, or 0.34 percent, lower at 2,253.06.

After the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting sparked speculation about additional monetary tightening, the U.S. long-term interest rates surged, pushing the value of the dollar to a nine-month high in Tokyo at the mid-146 yen level, according to traders.

Although Japan’s finance minister stated earlier this week that Japan will take “appropriate” action in response to excessive movements in foreign exchange rates, the yen has been depreciating against the dollar and has surpassed the levels that prompted a yen-buying intervention by Japanese authorities last September.

On the Prime Market, decliners were led by precision instruments, wholesale trade, and iron and steel shares.

Issues that declined outpaced those that rose by 1,214 to 561, while 60 ended the day unchanged.