TOKYO - Tokyo shares moved within a narrow range Wednesday morning, with investors watching the Washington deadlock as the deadline for raising the debt ceiling approached.
The headline Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 37.56 points or 0.26 per cent at 14,479.10 shortly after the opening bell.
But the index zigzagged between positive and negative territory in a narrow band in early trade with hopes high for some sort of resolution after intense partisan bickering in the United States.
With the deadline to extend the US government's borrowing power now just over a day away, Fitch placed the country's AAA long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) on Rating Watch Negative.
US Senate talks on a plan to raise the nation's borrowing limit stalled, triggering a fall on Wall Street.
"Despite the shortened time horizon and Fitch's action, hope springs eternal that a 'disaster scenario' (default) will be avoided at the last minute," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
"Investors are not yet ready to flee this market," he told Dow Jones Newswires.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 133.25 points (0.87 per cent) to 15,168.01.
The broader S&P 500 fell 12.08 (0.71 per cent) to 1,698.06, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 21.26 (0.56 per cent) at 3,794.01.
The dollar generally rebounded from overnight.
The US unit bought 98.55 yen, up from 98.16 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.
The euro was changing hands at US$1.3509 and 133.11 yen, compared with US$1.3525 and 132.77 yen in New York.