Tokyo stocks slump to 19-month low--lowest point since March 1999 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday, October 11 3:35 PM SGT Tokyo stocks slump to 19-month low

TOKYO, Oct 11 (AFP) -

Share prices in Tokyo slumped 2.0 percent on Wednesday to a 19-month low after Wall Street suffered heavy falls, brokers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's Nikkei-225 index lost 314.15 points to close at 15,513.57, the lowest closing level since March 12, 1999, when the key indicator ended at 15,488.86.

The Topix of all issues on the stock exchange's first section fell 22.82 points to 1,459.75.

Trading was moderate with volume estimated at 500 million shares compared with 466.0 million shares on Tuesday.

"The fall is mainly due to the US market's performance," said Tatsuo Kurokawa, senior market analyst at Nomura Securities. Co.

"There isn't any other major incentive in the Tokyo market to buy or to sell."

On Tuesday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 115.03 points or 3.4 percent to close at 3,240.53 while the Dow industrials slipped 44.03 points or 0.4 percent to 10,524.40.

Sentiment on Wall Street was hit by expectations that corporate earnings of US firms would slump on the back of a weak euro and soaring crude oil prices, brokers said.

"Share prices in Tokyo are going down solely because of the lingering concerns over the outlook of US shares," Kurokawa said.

The Nikkei index temporarily plunged below the 15,500 point level, but public funds, such as postal savings and pension funds, helped stop the index declining further, brokers said.

"The Tokyo market will be senstive for the time being as investors will keep watching moves on Wall Street very carefully," said Cosmo Securities broker Hiroshi Sato.

Brokers also said a government plan to sell up to one million shares in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. later this month depressed buying sentiment. NTT had separately announced that it would issue 300,000 new shares at the same time to finance its acquisition of US web-hosting firm Verio Inc.

"A lot of investors are selling shares to prepare for their purchase of new NTT shares," said another broker.

"The impact of the release is really big on the market. I think the timing is really bad."

Share prices were down across the board, including the scandal-stricken retail chain Daiei Inc.

Japan's largest retailer nose-dived 25 yen or 9.8 percent to end at 231 yen as top executives stepped down late Tuesday after admitting they had profited from selling a subsidiaries' shares. Hi-tech shares were also battered.

Leading electronics manufacturer Canon Inc. went down 170 yen or 3.8 percent to 4,280 while ceramics maker Kyocera Corp. fell 830 or 5.2 percent to 15,200.

-- Carl Jenkins (, October 11, 2000

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