The key Nikkei stock average closed on Wednesday below the psychologically important 11,000 line for the first time in nearly 17 years as Japanese investors became worried by signs of a further delay in a U.S. economic recovery.

The 225-issue Nikkei, which fell 85.61 points Tuesday, tumbled an additional 209.64 points, or 1.87 percent, to close at 10,979.76, ending below 11,000 for the first time since Oct. 20, 1984.

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