State may buy stocks to buoy prices: Yosano

Kyodo News

Economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano suggested Tuesday that the government may purchase stocks to help sustain share prices, which have nose-dived since Friday’s powerful earthquake.

“It might be a little bit early to mention, but (the government) has such a measure,” Yosano told reporters.

Tokyo stocks tumbled further Tuesday, with the Nikkei index shedding more than 14 percent at one point on panic selling triggered by fears over deepening troubles at a quake-hit nuclear power plant.

The Nikkei stock average fell 1,015.34 points, or 10.55 percent, to close at 8,605.15 after falling to as low as 8,227.63, the lowest on an intraday basis since April 1, 2009.

The broader Topix index of all first-section issues plunged 80.23 points, or 9.47 percent, to 766.73.

All 33 sectors on the TSE took a battering, with the electric and gas sector leading decliners, followed by the iron and steel and the real estate sectors. Of the decliners, the insurance sector had the smallest loss.

After hitting the day’s low in the afternoon, stocks trimmed some of the lost ground. But declines remained steep as investors fled from assets considered risky on reports of further malfunctions at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.