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Tokyo stocks tumble after string of drops on Wall Street


Stocks tumbled further on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday after being hit by sharp drops in U.S. stock prices overnight.

The 225-issue Nikkei average plunged 343.77 points, or 1.56 percent, to end at 21,724.47 after losing 321.62 points on Wednesday.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 28.04 points, or 1.59 percent, at 1,740.20. It lost 22.10 points the previous day.

Selling far outpaced buying after U.S. stocks continued to plummet in New York on Wednesday in a reflection of lower crude oil prices.

Investor sentiment was also battered by the dollar’s fall below ¥107, brokers said.

In the afternoon, the Tokyo market met with fresh sales, including those apparently launched by European players, they said.

Japanese stocks dived “amid a global risk-off mood strengthened by worldwide stock sell-offs,” an official of a bank-linked securities firm said.

The Tokyo market came under strong selling pressure from nonresidents, “although no fresh selling incentive emerged from Japan,” said Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.

“Lower crude oil prices helped buoy only the air transport sector. All other sectors were weak,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, equity strategist at Japan Asia Securities Co.

Shimizu said that selling induced by the U.S. market’s sluggishness far outpaced buying backed by hopes for purchases of exchange-traded funds by the Bank of Japan.

Losers overwhelmed winners 1,746 to 281 on the TSE’s first section, while 42 issues were unchanged.

Volume edged down to 1.52 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.54 billion shares.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries lost 4.72 percent after it emerged on Wednesday that inappropriate manufacturing work might have caused the crack discovered in December in a shinkansen undercarriage.

Lower crude oil prices dampened such oil companies as Japex, Inpex, Idemitsu and Showa Shell.

Other major losers included air conditioner manufacturer Daikin Industries and clothing retailer Fast Retailing.

By contrast, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways were firmer.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average plummeted 460 points to 21,640.