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Tokyo: Stocks drop 2.61% by close

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks suffered a 2.61 per cent drop on Thursday as a stronger yen and worries about the world economy dragged the Japanese market into the red.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 420.26 points at 15,661.99, while the Topix index of all first-section shares fell 2.89 per cent, or 38.06 points, to 1,280.15.

Tokyo's fall gained pace as the dollar weakened against the yen - a negative for Japanese exporters' profitability - after Wall Street tumbled following data showing construction spending in August fell unexpectedly.

A separate report indicated manufacturing activity slowed in September, while poor eurozone data added to the woes of investors who were also spooked by news of the first confirmed Ebola case in the United States.

Market voices on:

Markets are warily eyeing a pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong, where protest leaders have called for the leader of the financial hub to stand down by the end of the day or they will step up their demonstration, which has so far been largely peaceful.

"Japanese stocks will not be immune to the global selloff, especially as most of the buying seen over the last several weeks has been solely due to the weaker yen, and not anything fundamental," said Eiji Kinouchi, chief technical strategist at Daiwa Securities.

The dollar backed off after breaking the 110 yen barrier for the first time in more than six years on Wednesday.

It was changing hands at 108.76 yen in Tokyo Thursday, down from 108.91 yen late in New York.

In Tokyo share trading, Toyota dropped 3.46 per cent to 6,275.0 yen, Sony was down 3.25 per cent at 1,904.5 yen and All Nippon Airways plunged 4.76 per cent to 242.0 yen.

However, Skymark Airlines rallied 3.57 per cent to 203.0 yen. The stock had jumped more than 10 percent in early trade on reports it is renegotiating with Boeing over a penalty for the cancellation of a US$2.2 billion jet order.

On Wall Street, the Dow tumbled 1.40 per cent, the S&P 500 fell 1.32 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.59 per cent.

European stocks also fell following another round of disappointing data ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting later Thursday. - AFP