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Tokyo stocks down 0.29 percent at noon

TOKYO, Aug 13 – Tokyo stocks ended the morning down 0.29 percent as the strength of the yen and further gloomy US economic data weighed on sentiment, dealers said.

The benchmark Nikkei index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange eased 26.27 points, or 0.29 percent, to 9,186.32. The Topix index of all first-section shares fell 0.33 percent, or 2.74 points, to 825.04.

Market players continued monitoring the yen\’s strength against the dollar, as a stronger Japanese unit poses a threat to the export sector driving Japan\’s fragile economic rebound.

The yen lost some of its heat Friday and was quoted at 86.06 yen in morning trade, a day after Japanese leaders voiced concerns over the currency\’s rise in what was termed a "verbal intervention".

The greenback hit 84.73 yen on Wednesday in New York as market players sought a safe-haven amid renewed jitters over the health of the global economy, prompting comments from Japanese leaders hoping to spark yen selling.

"We think that verbal intervention will only provide temporary support for the dollar against the yen," said Barclays Capital in its client note. "More concrete measures are required to at least hold its ground."

Investors also took their cue from another weak performance on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding 0.57 percent on an unexpected rise in weekly US jobless claims, adding to fears about the pace of the US recovery.

Exporters were generally weaker, with Honda Motor down 1.57 percent at 2,754 yen and machinery maker Fanuc off 1.44 percent at 9,550 yen.

But electronic giant Panasonic rose 1.03 percent to 1,076 yen.

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