Tokyo stocks fall in morning, investors await Toyota earnings

Tokyo stocks dropped Tuesday morning, weighed down by an overnight decline in U.S. shares, while investors awaited earnings reports from major companies including Toyota Motor Corp. due later in the day.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 240.10 points, or 0.66 percent, from Monday to 36,114.06. The broader Topix index was down 20.90 points, or 0.82 percent, at 2,535.81.

The U.S. dollar edged down to the mid-148 yen zone after hitting a two-month high of 148.90 yen on Monday in New York. Investors bought the Japanese currency, perceived as a safe-haven asset, in tandem with a drop in Tokyo shares, dealers said.

At noon, the dollar fetched 148.58-59 yen compared with 148.63-73 yen in New York and 148.47-49 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.

The euro was quoted at $1.0746-0747 and 159.62-66 yen against $1.0736-0746 and 159.64-74 yen in New York and $1.0780-0781 and 160.06-10 yen in Tokyo late Monday afternoon.

Shares declined from the opening after gaining over the last two trading days, with the electronics and machinery sectors notably losing ground.

The downturn widened as investors awaited Toyota's earnings for the April-December period to see the potential impact of recent data manipulation scandals involving its group companies and production halts, brokers said.

"Caution (over Toyota's earnings) was somewhat prevalent in the market, although I believe we can expect relatively positive results" on robust overseas demand and the yen's weakness, a tailwind for exporters, said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co.

© Kyodo News