Share prices in Tokyo edged downward on Tuesday as investors took their cue from weak US stocks and political uncertainties in the United States and in Japan, dealers said.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange's Nikkei-225 index lost 4.60 points to close at 14,660.04. The Topix index of all issues on the stock exchange's first section fell 6.54 points to 1,389.17.
Trading was thin with volume estimated at 402 million shares, compared to 480 million shares on Monday.
"The Nasdaq dropped through the 3,000 point support level although it shed losses toward the end of the session. Players in Tokyo are all affected by the fall of the index," said Masaru Kazama, head of equities at Nissan Securities.
The Nasdaq index shed 62.25 points, or 2.06 percent, to close at 2,966.74 points. The Dow Jones Industrials Average index was down 85.70 points, or 0.81 percent, closing at 10,517.25.
Adding to pressure on the Nikkei were political uncertainties in the United States and in Japan, Kazama said.
In the United States, the outcome of the presidential election remains unsolved.
In Japan, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori is under mounting pressure to resign amid a threat by his chief rival to support an opposition motion of no confidence.
"It's not an environment where players can engage in aggressive buying," Kazama said.
"If the Nikkei index falls further, market participants may start to hunt for bargains," Kazama said. "For now, however, there is too much uncertainty."
Earlier losses shrank in late trading on expectations share prices on Wall Street would recover, brokers said.
"Investors bought back shares in the afternoon as they expected the New York stocks will rise tonight," said Nikko securities broker Kazue Mayuzumi.
"Investors also expect that the FOMC (US Federal Reserve's policymaking Open Market Committee) would take a neutral stance as the US economy heads toward so-called soft-landing," Mayuzumi said. The Fed's policymakers will meet on Wednesday.
Electrical machinery manufacturer Toshiba Corp. lost 19 yen, or 2.3 percent, to close at 797 yen.
High-tech giant NEC Corp. declined 70 yen, or 3.2 percent, to 2,120 yen.
Fujitsu Ltd., Japan's largest computer maker, declined 26 yen, or 1.34 percent, to 1,909 yen -- TOKYO (AFP)
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