Tokyo stocks dive by break on global economy, Brexit fears

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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks dived Monday morning as concern about the world economy and Britain’s EU vote sparked a yen rally that hammered exporters including Toyota and factory robot maker Fanuc.

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The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 2.61 percent, or 432.88 points, to 16,168.48 by the break, extending a global sell-off, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was down 2.65 percent, or 35.31 points, at 1,295.41.

Markets are on edge as the US and Japanese central banks meet this week, with investors worrying about global growth and the possible impact of a British exit from the EU, as polls showed an exit is a real possibility.

Few expect any move on interest rates from the Federal Reserve this week, but observers are divided over whether the Bank of Japan will announce more stimulus after its policy meeting ends Thursday.

About 55 percent of economists in a Bloomberg survey think the BoJ will launch more easing measures.

The dollar sank to 106.19 yen from 106.93 yen Friday in New York, hitting exporters’ repatriated profits.

“Everyone’s scared,” Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities, told Bloomberg News. “There are too many events coming up for investors to take a plunge.”

In share trading Toyota dived 2.79 percent to 5,470 yen, Nissan slumped 2.89 percent to 1,022.5 yen and Fanuc was 1.94 percent off at 16,405 yen.

Weaker oil prices hit crude-linked shares. Energy explorer Inpex plunged 4.73 percent to 842.1 yen and refiner JX Holdings tanked 2.75 percent to 420.1 yen.

Japan’s benchmark 10-year bond yield fell to a record low of minus 0.165 percent, underscoring a flight to safety among jittery investors. AFP

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