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Tokyo stocks open lower despite US rallies

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday despite rallies on Wall Street, as Chinese authorities announced the death toll from new coronavirus surged by 242 in a single day in hard-hit Hubei province.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.14 percent or 32.90 points to 23,828.31 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.25 percent or 4.31 points at 1,714.61.

The announcement from China "is weighing on the sentiment of Japanese investors," Ryuta Otsuka, chief strategist at Toyo Securities, told AFP.

"Perception among Japanese investors about ramifications of the new coronavirus on the economy seems to be fundamentally different from foreign investors," he said.

The weak performance in the Tokyo bourse, despite rallies in global markets including Hong Kong's Hang Seng and China's Shanghai indexes in the previous session, "is probably because investors here are talking about short-term impact" from the virus rather than long-term, he added.

Analysts in general recommended bargain-hunting and buying shares on dips.

The dollar fetched 109.87 yen in early trade, compared with 110.09 yen in New York.

In Tokyo, blue-chip exporters were mixed, with Honda gaining 0.27 percent to 2,966 yen and Sony edging up 0.30 percent to 7,740 yen, while Toyota lost 0.27 percent to 7,773 yen and Nintendo dropped 0.86 percent to 40,210 yen.

SoftBank Group was up 0.80 percent at 5,797 yen after it said its net profit plunged nearly 70 percent for the nine months to December.

Nissan was down 1.35 percent at 569.6 yen ahead of its third-quarter earnings report due later Thursday.

The automaker said late Wednesday it has filed a civil lawsuit seeking 10 billion yen ($90 million) from former chairman Carlos Ghosn for what it called "years of his misconduct and fraudulent activity".

In New York, the Dow ended up 0.9 percent at 29,551.42.