Tokyo Stocks Nosedive Welcome to The Year of the Monkey

Tokyo Stock Exchange

Tokyo Stock Exchange

By the close of business Tokyo stocks had plunged by over 5 percent on Tuesday on the back of an overnight sell-off in the U.S. and Europe.

Across Asia the year of the Monkey has made its unpredictable presence felt early in the equity markets not closed for the Chinese New Year holiday.

In Japan the aggressive equity drop, which routed every industry category on the main board, was led by securities brokerages, bank and marine transportation issues. A North Korean missile launch over the weekend has also spooked investors.

Japanese Exporter Punished

By lunchtime Tokyo had fallen 4.9 percent but despite a slight fight back in mid afternoon the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 918.86 points, or 5.4 percent, from Monday at 16,085.44, a three-week closing low. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 76.08 points, or 5.51 percent, lower at 1,304.33.

The Japanese currency also strengthened quickly to just above 115.25 Yen having sat above 120 Yen just a week ago and punishing Japanese exporters who have been benefitting from the softer currency.

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