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Market Scramble: Japanese stocks suffer amid doubts over US rate hikes' punch

TOKYO -- Receding hopes for a U.S. rate hike are weighing down Japanese stocks even as risk assets in other major global markets rally. Meanwhile, concerns are growing that an eventual interest rate increase will do little to curb the yen's strength.

The Nikkei Stock Average ended down 0.41% Wednesday at 17,012.44 even as other major stock indexes gained. Exporters and banking issues, which had been driving an uptrend in Tokyo, fell. Funds instead flowed into defensive issues less susceptible to economic volatility. Utility shares were also snapped up in the U.S. during the Tuesday session there as investors once again started hunting for returns.

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