Japan stocks fall as U.S. rate outlook boosts yen


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    By Stanley White
    TOKYO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Thursday,
dragged lower by major exporters after the U.S. Federal
Reserve's pledge to keep rates near zero until at least 2023
sent the yen to a seven-week high against the dollar. 
    The Nikkei 225 index  .N225  fell 0.67% to 23,319.37, with
consumer discretionary and industrial sectors leading the
decline. The broader Topix  .TOPX  fell 0.36% to 1,638.40.
    The U.S. central bank on Wednesday vowed to keep interest
rates near zero until inflation is on track to overshoot its 2%
target, pushing the yen  JPY=EBS  to 104.80 per dollar, the
strongest since July 31.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2GD2AW
    The yen's strength weighed on the auto sector, a major
exporter. Honda Motor  7267.T  declined 1.5%, Isuzu Motors Ltd
 7202.T  lost 5.09% and Nissan Motor Co  7201.T  fell 2.37%. 
    The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged at a
meeting earlier on Thursday. Traders now focus on BOJ Governor
Haruhiko Kuroda's press conference, where he is likely to
emphasise his willingness to cooperate with new Prime Minister
Yoshihide Suga, analysts said.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2GE0M0
    The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix
names were electronics maker Keyence Corp  6861.T , up 1.26%,
followed by convenience store operator Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd
 3382.T , which also rose 1.26%.
    The underperformers among the Topix 30 were East Japan
Railway Co  9020.T , down 4.67%, followed by Central Japan
Railway Co  9022.T  losing 4.11%.
    There were 61 advancers on the Nikkei index against 156
    The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's
main board  .TOPX  was 1.11 billion, compared with the average
of 1.13 billion in the past 30 days.

 (Editing by Uttaresh.V and Devika Syamnath)
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