• Kyodo


Business confidence at large companies plunged into negative territory in the quarter ending in December because of the rising yen, the floods in Thailand and a global economic outlook made gloomier by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

For companies capitalized at ¥1 billion or more, the ministry’s sentiment index slid to minus 2.5 from positive 6.6 in the previous quarter, entering negative territory for the first time since the April-June quarter, when the March earthquake and tsunami stomped it down to minus 22.

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