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Tokyo's Nikkei closes down 2% on US economy worries

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[TOKYO] Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index dropped 2 per cent on Thursday following losses on Wall Street after lacklustre US jobs data exacerbated recession fears.

The Nikkei 225 index lost 2.01 per cent, or 436.87 points, to close at 21,341.74, while the broader Topix index was down 1.72 per cent, or 27.42 points, at 1,568.87.

"The Japanese market is falling sharply, pressured by selloffs in US shares and a higher yen," Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex, said in a commentary.

Wall Street stocks tumbled on Wednesday after payrolls firm ADP estimated the US added 135,000 private-sector jobs in September. The figure was below market expectations, bolstering anxiety over the US economy.

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"The market is now focusing on US unemployment figures on Friday and US-China talks next week," said Shinichi Yamamoto, a broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.

The dollar fetched 107.18 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 107.16 yen in New York late on Wednesday.

In Tokyo, shares were lower across the board, with Toyota dropping 2.47 per cent to 6,982 yen and Honda dipping 2.67 per cent to 2,742.5 yen.

Sony fell 0.83 per cent to 6,148yen and Hitachi was off 1.64 per cent at 4,006 yen.

Kansai Electric was down 1.06 per cent at 1,252.5 yen after the company admitted two executives who were responsible for its nuclear business both received more than 100 million yen (S$1.3 million) in gifts from a former official of a town hosting one of its nuclear plants.

The utility disclosed additional information on the scandal involving more than a dozen officials on Wednesday, but its chief executive officer refused to step down.

Tokyo Electric was down 1.86 per cent at 527 yen.

AFP