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Tokyo stocks plummet on U.S. woes

Reuters

A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo on Friday.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Stocks fell back sharply on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday in the second severe setback this week, with investor sentiment hurt by another plunge in U.S. equities.

The 225-issue Nikkei average plunged 508.24 points, or 2.32 percent, to end at 21,382.62, the lowest closing level since Oct. 18 last year. On Thursday, the key market gauge rose 245.49 points.

The TOPIX index of all first-section issues closed down 33.72 points, or 1.91 percent, at 1,731.97, after climbing 15.78 points the previous day.

After a two-day rebound from a deep slump on Tuesday amid global stock sell-offs, Tokyo stocks met with hefty selling from the outset of Friday’s trading.

A risk-averse mood prevailed in the Tokyo market after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 1,032.89 points, or 4.15 percent, in New York on Thursday on the back of higher U.S. long-term interest rates. The Dow’s drop was the second-biggest single-day point loss on record, after Monday’s 1,175.21-point tumble.

The Nikkei average briefly gave up about 770 points in the morning session.

Tokyo stocks remained under heavy selling pressure throughout Friday also because of the yen’s rise against the dollar, brokers said.

Investor sentiment “turned weak” following the Dow’s recent sharp falls, said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

‘Something like an aftershock’

The Dow’s latest plunge was “something like an aftershock” following Monday’s record point loss, Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc., said, predicting that high volatility in the U.S. market will be reduced eventually.

The Tokyo market’s downside was supported by buybacks to some extent, as the yen’s strengthening came to a halt, Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., noted.

Some market sources attributed the resilience to investor hopes for exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan.

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