Share prices plunged Thursday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after the Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey showed a dramatic fall in business confidence.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average plummeted 538.76 points, or 3.3 percent, to 15,702.90, its lowest since Jan. 14. The gloom in the financial market deepened as the tankan offered fresh evidence of an ailing economy.

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