Tokyo stocks were lower Friday morning, tracking overnight declines on Wall Street, as investors remained cautious as they awaited the results of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 283.57 points, or 0.87 percent, from Thursday to 32,287.46. The broader Topix index was down 19.53 points, or 0.82 percent, at 2,363.88.

On the top-tier Prime Market, decliners were led by marine transportation, electric power and gas, and iron and steel issues.

The U.S. dollar rose above the 148 yen line after the Japanese central bank decided to maintain ultralow rates and reiterated its commitment to monetary easing following the meeting.

At noon, the dollar fetched 148.03-05 yen compared with 147.54-64 yen in New York and 148.24-26 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The euro was quoted at $1.0646-0650 and 157.59-66 yen against $1.0657-0667 and 157.29-39 yen in New York and $1.0655-0656 and 157.96-158.00 yen in Tokyo late Thursday afternoon.

Stocks were lower from the outset, with the Nikkei index briefly dropping over 400 points in the morning, as U.S. shares continued to slide on wariness over prolonged monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve following its policy meeting earlier this week.

Market participants remained guarded ahead of BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda's post-meeting press conference after his recent comments in a newspaper interview indicating that ending the bank's negative interest rate policy as part of its monetary easing measures would be an option if sustainable price rises accompanied by wage increases are achieved.

"While investors didn't expect the BOJ to change its overall ultraloose policy, they are focused on the potential effect Ueda's remarks may have on the exchange market" as the yen has remained weak, said Kazuo Kamitani, market strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

The yen fell to a fresh 10-month low of 148.45 against the dollar the previous day in Tokyo, with the Japanese currency's recent depreciation raising speculation that a market intervention may be imminent.

Meanwhile, although the Nikkei benchmark has lost nearly 1,000 points over the past three days, investors are unlikely to scoop up battered shares until the outcome of the closely-watched meeting, analysts said.

Chip-related issues declined as they tracked sharp overnight declines by their U.S. peers. Advantest slumped 80 yen, or 0.5 percent, to 15,720 yen, and Tokyo Electron fell 280 yen, or 1.4 percent, to 20,220 yen.

Bucking the downward trend, Nippon Television Network surged 182.0 yen, or 13.2 percent, to 1,557.0 yen, a day after the company said Studio Ghibli Inc., the production company of anime director Hayao Miyazaki, is set to become a subsidiary.


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