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A Pokémon store in Japan/AFP

Gadgets & Apps

Tokyo stocks close down, Nintendo up on Pokemon launch

A Pokémon store in Japan/AFP

A Pokémon store in Japan/AFP

TOKYO, Japan, Jul 22 – Tokyo shares closed lower Friday as worries over a flagged stimulus dented spirits, but Nintendo rose again as the hugely popular Pokemon Go app launched in Japan, its home market.

Trading got off to a weak start as investors bought the yen after an interview was aired in which central bank chief Haruhiko Kuroda ruled out using so-called helicopter money in any fresh economy-boosting measures.

The strategy involves funnelling cash directly into the economy to boost growth, including possibly putting cash straight into people’s bank accounts, rather than the more traditional bond-buying method.

The comments to the BBC were aired Thursday, just before the European Central Bank held off any fresh easing measures and its own boss provided limited scope for support in the future.

Soon after the Kuroda interview, the dollar plunged from levels above 107 yen to end Thursday at 105.76 yen. On Friday it bought 105.91 yen.

“The market had risen on hopes for helicopter money,” Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, told Bloomberg News.

“Yesterday’s report came at just the right time for investors wanting to close their positions and take profits.”

Next week, investors will focus on a central bank meeting, monthly economy data and the kickoff to Japans’s latest earnings seasons.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.09 percent, or 182.97 points, to close at 16,627.25. Over the week it was up 0.78 percent.

The Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.89 percent, or 11.88 points, to 1,327.51. It added 0.79 percent from last Friday.

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Toyota slipped 0.62 percent to 5,838 yen, Sony fell 0.52 percent to 3,196 yen and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, tumbled 3.20 percent to 32,640 yen.

Construction machinery maker Komatsu eased 0.69 percent to 2,067 yen after it announced a deal to buy US mining equipment firm Joy Global for about $2.9 billion

But Nintendo rose 0.78 percent to 28,220 yen as investors cheered the rollout of Pokemon Go in Japan, a couple of weeks after its initial launch set off a worldwide mania.

At one stage the videogame giant’s shares had more than doubled from their July 5 close as markets took the app’s success as a good sign for Nintendo’s nascent mobile gaming strategy.

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