Tokyo Shares Fall as Hopes for Fed Tightening Dim

Markets Dow Jones Newswires

(Reuters)

Japanese stocks declined Friday as hopes for an imminent rate increase by the Federal Reserve waned. 

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The Nikkei Stock Average fell 87.92 points, or 0.5%, to 19283.54. The index gained 0.3% this week. 

Investors continued to trim bets that the Fed would tighten further in March after the central bank's latest policy-meeting minutes lacked a clear signal. 

Shares of insurers and banks dropped, tracking lower bond yields in the U.S. and Japan. So-called cyclical stocks, which had benefited from the prospect of U.S. fiscal stimulus, stronger U.S. growth and a higher dollar, were hurt by some profit-taking. 

Dai-ichi Life Holdings fell 1.4% to 2,175.0 yen. Major bank Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings lost 0.9% to Y4,168. Construction machinery maker Komatsu fell 5.4% to Y2,710.5. Steel maker JFE Holdings dropped 2.1% to Y2,156.0. 

Toshiba remained volatile, ending up 4.1% at Y223.9 after falling 4.3% on Thursday and jumping 22% on Wednesday. 

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Yoshinori Ogawa, strategist at Okasan Securities, said that despite recent developments at Toshiba, there were few changes to its underlying problem. 

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group  dropped 0.8% to Y758.4 despite news that the company will move into online retail banking in the U.S. to boost dollar deposits.

 

Write to Kosaku Narioka at kosaku.narioka@wsj.com