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Stocks fall for fifth straight day on U.S., Europe drops

JIJI

Stocks extended their losing streak to a fifth session on Friday, as U.S. and European equities fell overnight and the yen strengthened against other major currencies amid credit concerns over a major bank in Portugal.

The Nikkei 225 average closed down 52.43 points, or 0.34 percent, at 15,164.04. On Thursday, it sagged 86.18 points. The Topix dipped 4.06 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at 1,255.19, after falling 11.57 points the previous day.

The TSE came under selling pressure from the outset of Friday’s trading after U.S. and European equities dropped overnight on the concerns raised in Portugal.

After the initial selling ran its course, buying on dips by pension funds and foreign investors helped cut the losses, brokers said, but the yen’s appreciation against the dollar and euro in the afternoon spurred renewed selling on the market.

At the same time, brokers said that intermittent buying,stemming from index futures, helped underpin the market’s downside.

Most analysts expect that the problem in Portugal is unlikely to have a serious impact on its neighbors, such as Italy and Spain, and won’t revive the European debt crisis.

“Wall Street met with brief selling following the Portuguese problem, but I believe the U.S. market has priced in its impact on stocks,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc.

At present, “investors are not pessimistic about the bank crisis because safety nets have already been established since Europe was hit by past credit risk problems,” Otani said.