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Tokyo stocks open flat, Uniqlo operator rises, Kobe Steel dives

TOKYO, Japan, Oct 13, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - Tokyo stocks opened flat Friday after falls on Wall Street, with Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing performing well on strong annual net profits and Kobe Steel plunging amid a widening scandal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched down 0.02 percent, or 4.00 points, to 20,950.72 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.16 percent or 2.61 points, at 1,697.52.

Fast Retailing opened up 3.18 percent at 35,960 yen after the Uniqlo operator reported net profits of 119 billion yen ($1 billion) in the fiscal year through August.

But Kobe Steel dropped 9.98 percent to 794 yen after business daily Nikkei reported that a quality control scandal had impacted more than 30 companies outside Japan, including General Motors, Tesla, Daimler and PSA.

The products at issue were also used in planes built by Boeing and Airbus, the report said, without citing sources.

Kobe Steel's stock has plunged by about 40 percent this week after the manufacturer on Sunday first admitted falsifying data linked to the strength and quality of products, a practice that may have started a decade ago.

On the currency markets, the dollar was slightly lower at 112.18 yen, against 112.29 yen in New York late Thursday.

Analysts said investors were taking some profits after the benchmark index closed at fresh two-decade highs but losses were being capped by expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would cruise to victory in an election next week.

Supermarket and convenience store operator Seven & i Holdings was up 2.43 percent at 4,535 yen after it reported better-than-expected operating profit for the second quarter.