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Tokyo stocks slump after Wall Street selloff

[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks lost more than 2 per cent on Monday, with investor sentiment weighed down by a selloff on Wall Street at the end of last week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 2.55 per cent, or 592.45 points, to close at 22,682.08. The broader Topix index was down 2.17 per cent, or 40.46 points, at 1,823.74.

"Market sentiment was hit hard by New York," said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

"But selling pressure was gradually subdued as Tokyo stocks already dropped before US stocks plunged on Friday," Mr Sato told AFP.

"Now all eyes are on the opening on Wall Street later today," he added.

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The Dow suffered its worst drop in more than a year and a half on Friday on disappointing earnings from big companies and worries about higher interest rates.

Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said earlier in a commentary: "Investor sentiment is turning negative following a drop in US shares... but bargain-hunting movement is also expected."

The dollar fetched 109.97 yen in Asian afternoon trade, down from 110.18 yen in New York late Friday.

Panasonic ended down 1.88 per cent at 1,610 yen ahead of its earnings report for the nine months to December later Monday.

Sony was up 1.51 per cent at 5,568 yen, after the electronics giant said late Friday it now forecasts annual net profit of 480 billion yen (S$5.7 billion), up from a previous forecast of 380 billion yen.

Honda was up 2.08 per cent at 3,971 yen after the carmaker said late Friday it expects net profit of one trillion yen, nearly double the previous forecast.

Its bigger rival Toyota was down 1.63 per cent at 7,501 yen while Nissan closed down 0.29 per cent at 1,169.5 yen.


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