Tokyo’s benchmark index ended lower Monday

TOKYO – Tokyo’s benchmark index ended lower Monday, coming off its highest level in over two months as news that the Japanese economy stalled in the April-June quarter hit sentiment .

 

Shortly before the opening bell, official data showed that growth in the world’s third largest economy was flat in the April-June period .

 

That missed economists’ expectations for a modest 0.2 percent expansion, as weak exports and a fall in business spending held back activity .

 

Japan’s economy grew 0.5 percent in the first quarter — 1.9 percent annualised — after a contraction in the last three months of 2015 .

 

A sharp rally in the yen has hit Japanese exporters, making them less competitive overseas and denting profits .

 

“Today’s data are quite disappointing,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking .

 

“The situation is becoming tougher and tougher. There is the rally in the yen and worries about Japan’s prospects in overseas markets. And so companies are becoming more pessimistic about making investments.’’

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