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Nikkei plunges more than 4%, falls under 15,000 in early trade as global economic worries rise

AFP-JIJI

Tokyo stocks tumbled more 4 percent in early deals on Friday, playing catch-up with a global selloff after a one-day holiday amid deepening worries about the world economy and as a stronger yen hammered exporters.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange plunged as much as 4.59 percent, or 721.25 points, to 14,992.14 in early trade, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares declined 4.50 percent, or 56.96 points, to 1,208.02.

“We’ve entered a different phase in the market,” Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings, told Bloomberg News.

“We’re not simply in a risk-off mode, the market’s fallen to the point of pricing in a recession in the U.S.

“The market is saying we’re worried no matter what (Federal Reserve Chair Janet) Yellen says and their reaction shows there can be no real relief until we can truly see what’s happening in the U.S. economy.”

In forex markets, the dollar fell to ¥112.10 from ¥112.39 in New York, far below the ¥114.67 it was trading at on Wednesday in Tokyo before the holiday.

A stronger yen is a negative for Japanese exporters’ profitability and tends to dent demand for their shares.