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Tokyo stocks down at break ahead of Fed meeting

Tokyo stocks eased Wednesday morning, despite a pick-up in Japanese business confidence as investors hold their cards ahead of a key US central bank meeting.

Gambling-linked shares retreated after a recent rally as lawmakers from Japan's ruling party rush to pass a controversial bill to legalise casinos on the last day of the parliamentary session.

Backers hope the move will attract billions of dollars in investment and turn Japan into a global gaming powerhouse rivalling Asian titan Macau.

In Tokyo, Konami, which makes machines for a popular quasi-gambling game called Pachinko, slipped 0.12 percent to 4,155 yen, while Japan Cash Machine, a bill-counting device maker, fell 1.25 percent to 1,494 yen.

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Amusement machine maker Sega Sammy was down 0.55 percent at 1,793 yen.

Shortly before the market opened, the Bank of Japan released a quarterly survey showing business confidence among the country's largest manufacturers rebound for the first time in more than a year as the yen tumbled following Donald Trump's US election win.

The closely watched Tankan report is a key gauge of the health of Japanese business and is closely watched by investors.

But the market impact was limited as investors awaits the Federal Reserve's policy meeting. While a rate hike is expected, dealers will be poring over comments from the bank's boss for an idea about its plans for future policy.

"Investors are now reluctant to take big positions as they want to see what happens at the Fed meeting," Shinichi Yamamoto, a broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo, told AFP.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which closed at its highest level in a year Tuesday, edged down 0.08 percent, or 15.06 points, to 19,235.46 by the break.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.15 percent, or 2.35 points, at 1,537.90.

Brewer Asahi Group tumbled again after its whopping purchase of AB InBev's Eastern European business.

The stock fell 2.03 percent to 3,426 yen following the previous day's 4.60 percent dive.

The group announced Tuesday it will pay $7.7 billion for AB InBev's beer assets in five emerging European countries, about twice as much as an earlier report had suggested.

The dollar changed hands at 115.20 yen against 115.16 yen in New York.

si-mis/pb/dan