Tokyo stocks close 0.39% lower

Tokyo stocks ended 0.39 percent lower on Wednesday, reversing earlier gains ahead of a speech by US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, with investors waiting for clues to the future of the bank's stimulus programme.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange ended 56.30 points lower at 14,416.60. The Topix index of all first section shares fell 0.14 percent, or 1.69 points, to 1,195.20.

"After the market's recent steep upward pitch, it was due for at least a mini-correction," Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires, noting the Nikkei's sharp recent rise.

The Nikkei index closed the morning session 0.12 percent higher on Wednesday but gave up the gain to slip into negative territory by the closing bell.

European and US shares climbed Tuesday with the technology-heavy Nasdaq index posting its highest close since October 2000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.50 percent as investors ignored the International Monetary Fund's lowered growth forecasts for the US and global economies.

The dollar eased to 100.59 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade, from 101.12 yen in late Tuesday in New York. The euro bought 128.62 yen, compared with 129.29 yen, and was flat at $1.2787.

Mobile phone carrier SoftBank rose 0.34 percent to 5,760, while Olympus was up 1.40 percent at 2,969 yen clawing back some of the 5.4 percent it lost the previous day after announcing a massive equity increase plan.