|Rattled Tokyo officials plead for sanity following Nikkei rout, Europe markets fall
Stocks in Tokyo plunged more than 5 percent today as jittery investors dumped shares and economy minister called for calm.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 5.15 percent, or 737.43 points, to 13,589.03, while the Topix index of all first-section shares fell 3.77 percent, or 44.45 points, to 1,134.42, AFP reports.
European markets also fell today at the open.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.16 percent to 6,616.77 points compared with Wednesday's closing level.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.27 percent to 8,314.20 points and in Paris the CAC 40 retreated by 0.26 percent in value to stand at 3,963.69.
In Tokyo the loss accelerated from mid-afternoon as a stronger yen dragged on the Japanese market – yen trading and the benchmark stock index are closely interlinked as the value of the unit affects the competitiveness of Japan's exporters.
Tokyo's tumble followed on the heels of a tough session on Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.69 percent to 15,302.80 on concerns over the global economy and recent surges in US bond yields.
The rise in US yields was “taking the wind out of equity markets generally as fixed income investments begin to look more attractive'', said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
Economy minister Akira Amari appealed for calm, saying he hoped “the market would return to a steady tone once the domestic and international situation stabilize,'' the leading Nikkei business daily quoted him as saying.
In other markets, Sydney slipped 0.89 percent, or 44.0 points, to close at 4,930.7 while Seoul ended flat, edging down 1.10 points at 2,000.10.
Hours earlier, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government spokesman, pointed to an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report which slashed its growth forecast for the world's most advanced economies, except Japan.
“It is important to react calmly to movements in the stock market,'' Suga said.
The OECD report yesterday trimmed its world economic growth forecast for 2013 to 3.1 percent from 3.4 percent, sparking concern about the state of the global economy.
“Selling is gaining momentum even though there are some investors willing to pick up bargains. The market is now vulnerable to even a small shock,'' Daiwa's Kabeya said.