The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plunged to a 19-month low Wednesday, dragged down by weakness on Wall Street.
The Nikkei fell 314.15 points, or 1.98 percent, to 15,513.57 for the fourth consecutive trading day of decline on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues shed 22.82 points, or 1.54 percent, to hit 1,459.75.
After opening at the day’s high of 15,795.15, the Nikkei took a downward path and dropped as low as 15,424.71 shortly after 2:30 p.m.
“Information technology issues were damaged after New York’s Nasdaq composite index fell for the fourth straight trading day Tuesday, leading overall share prices in Tokyo lower,” said Kazunori Jinnai, head of the equity department at Daiwa Securities SB Capital Markets Co.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average also tumbled for the fourth straight trading day.
Foreign investors, the major driving force in the Tokyo market, were net sellers, which provided their domestic counterparts with another excuse to sell.
Volume on the main section increased to 500.54 million shares from Tuesday’s 466.01 million, with losers exceeding gainers 895 to 366 and 149 issues closing the day unchanged.
Among IT issues, NEC, Fujitsu and Rohm tumbled to their lowest levels for the year, while volume leader Fujikura, a major electric wire and cable maker, lost 78 yen to 951 yen.
Hikari Tsushin rewrote its record low during the day, closing at 2,970 yen, down 380 yen, after falling as low as 2,860 yen.
Muneyuki Ichihara, investment information manager at Nomura Securities Co., said he expects New York share prices to halt their slide soon, adding that, “Their steady rebound will not be realized until investors can see stability in crude oil prices and in the foreign exchange market.”
Financial issues were also weak in the aftermath of Chiyoda Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s collapse, with Daiwa Bank, Orix and Cosmo Securities also falling to their lowest levels for the year.
Daiei hit a record low of 213 yen before closing at 231 yen, down 25 yen, after demoting its president and vice president to ordinary board members Tuesday due to their controversial purchase of stock in a Daiei group firm.
Pharmaceutical companies, which are not heavily affected by Wall Street movements, were up, with Shionogi touching a record high of 2,120 yen before closing at 2,100 yen, up 30 yen.
Gainers included food and air transportation issues.
The Second Section index lost 47.08 points to 2,313.02 on volume of 10.60 million shares. In Osaka, the near-term December Nikkei 225 index futures contract dropped 440 points to 15,400.
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