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Tokyo follows Wall Street fall as Toshiba stocks plunge again

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Hong Kong (AFP)

Tokyo followed Wall Street lower Thursday and oil edged down from recent highs as Toshiba's stock plunged for the third straight day.

The Dow receded after nearing the historic 20,000 benchmark with shares of some banks falling more than one percent after the stock prices had won outsized gains in the rally seen since US election day.

Tokyo saw the biggest fall in Asia-Pacific Thursday with Japanese stocks down one percent but other major markets were also lower with Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Singapore and Seoul all giving up ground.

Japanese shares were heading for their biggest drop in more than a month while Sydney was down from its highest level recorded since August 2015, after Australian stocks advanced by one percent Wednesday as traders returned from the Christmas break.

The yen climbed against the dollar and both main oil contracts fell, ending crude's nine-day winning streak, after an industry report was believed to show US crude stockpiles climbed last week, Bloomberg reported.

On Wall Street, investors sold equities at the fastest rate since before Donald Trump's surprise election victory in November, paring a post-election rally. The dollar had risen since the billionaire's win on speculation he will boost public spending.

"A market riding on expectations toward a Trump presidency is coming to a close, and we’re starting to focus on reality," said Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Investment Management in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.

"I expect investors to take a more nervous stance toward US economic indicators from here on."

In Tokyo, Toshiba plunged for the third straight day and was trading almost 20 percent lower two hours after the opening bell, after falling more than 25 percent earlier.

The decline followed continuing investor unease after the company's Tuesday warning of a possible one-time loss of several billion dollars over its US nuclear business.

Overall, analysts described trading volume as light in the typically quiet week between Christmas and New Year, with many investors on holiday and little economic news to stir interest.

"I think when you get to the point where you've got a hurdle like Dow 20,000 it seems to take some time," said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates.

"There is a fair amount of profit-taking when the stocks get closer to that milestone."

- Key figures around 0200 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN one percent at 19,199.50

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 21,704.05

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,099.07

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0437 from $1.0412

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 116.70 yen from 117.20 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2241 from $1.2216

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 30 cents at $53.76 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 19 cents at $56.03 per barrel

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 19,833.68 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,106.08 points (close)

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