Japan stocks tumble over five percent

Tokyo, Feb 9 (IANS) Japan shares ended the trading Tuesday sharply lower, with benchmark Nikkei stocks index plunging over five percent on the yen’s rapid appreciation to a about 15-month high.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plunged 918.86 points, or 5.40 percent, from Monday to 16,085.44, Xinhua reported.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 76.08 points, or 5.51 percent, to 1,304.33.

The Japanese yen was quoted at 114.6 yen versus the US dollar, compared with lower 117 yen level on Monday. Yen’s appreciation always triggers selling of export-oriented issues.

Traders said the dollar’s slide was sparked by selloffs in the US and Europe, with the yen often a preferred choice as a safe currency haven in times of economic turbulence or severe market jitters, which drives its value up versus its major counterparts.

The sharp plunge in the Japanese stocks market followed weak performances in the overnight European and US stocks market amid fading outlook of interest hike by the US Federal Reserve and declines in oil prices.

The day’s turnover was about 3,055.6 billion yen ($26.68 billion).

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