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Nikkei plunges on economy fears

BBC | September 10, 2007

Japan's main share index has fallen sharply, hit by fears about the state of both the Japanese and US economies.

Data on Monday showing a 1.2% slowdown in the Japanese economy in the three months to 30 June, came after Friday's shock fall in US employment.

The gloomy figures caused Japan's main Nikkei 225 index to end down 2.2% or 357 points at 15,765.

Europe's main share indexes were mixed in Monday morning trade, with London's FTSE up while Germany's Dax was down.

By mid-morning, the FTSE 100 was up 24 points to 6,216, while the Dax had lost 1.2 points to 7,435.

'Bad news'

Japan's biggest exporters led the declines in Tokyo, as the dollar fell to a fresh 14-month low against the yen.

Sony's shares lost 6%, Canon declined 3.7%, and Toyota slid 2.4%, but analysts said falls were seen by firms in all sectors of the economy.

"Stocks are being sold across the board," said Yoshinori Nagano, chief strategist at Daiwa Asset Management.

"US employment data is bad news on fundamentals, and it's unclear how long negative market sentiment will linger."

Japan's second quarter 1.2% fall in gross domestic product, compared with a year earlier, was worse than market expectations of a 0.9% dip.

It was also the first time Japan's economy has contracted since the third quarter of last year, when it fell 0.5% in annual terms.

The Nikkei's Monday falls were mirrored elsewhere in the Far East, with Hong Kong's main Hang Seng index down 128 points to 23,854.

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