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Tokyo shares close 0.90% lower

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November 09 2012, 7:08PM

Tokyo stocks have closed 0.90 per cent lower, hit by a still-strong yen, while concerns about Europe and the US economic recovery also weighed.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday ended down 79.55 points at 8,757.60 in thin trading, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.63 per cent, or 4.61 points, to 730.74.

Wall Street and European markets fell on Thursday on jitters over slowing European growth and the so-called US fiscal cliff, a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes due to come into effect on January 1.

US President Barack Obama's re-election has raised the spectre of a continued deadlock in Washington on the issue that could ultimately reverse the country's recovery and send the world's largest economy back into recession.

"Fiscal cliff worries continue to linger. Obama's re-election is seen as a sign that the political standoff may continue without resolution for the time being," said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

"US stocks most likely have room to fall further," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

On Wall Street, the Dow fell 0.94 per cent on Thursday, a second day of losses after Obama's victory.

The Tokyo market was taking a "reflexive beating" after Wall Street's tumble with all eyes on Obama's announcement of his plan to tackle the problem due later on Friday, said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.

Investors also digested news of a possible delay in Greece's new austerity package, a deal necessary for the debt-hit nation to receive the next tranche of its international bailout.

In Tokyo trade, exporters fell as the yen remained stubbornly high, despite losing some ground in Friday's session.

Honda Motor was off 0.29 per cent at Y2,388 and Sony was down 0.90 per cent at Y879, after the electronics giant said on Thursday that the head of its software division was leaving.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the cheap chic Uniqlo clothing chain, was down 1.6 per cent at Y16,870.

On currency markets, the dollar bought Y79.50 from Y79.43 in New York late on Thursday, while the euro was higher at $US1.2761 from $US1.2748.

Against the Japanese currency, the euro bought Y101.45 from Y101.28.