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Japanese stocks plunge april 2005 { April 18 2005 }

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Japanese stocks plunge to four-month low
By David Turner in Tokyo
Published: April 18 2005 05:00 | Last updated: April 18 2005 08:31

Japanese stocks plunged on Monday, depressed by a combination of fears over Sino-Japan tensions and concerns over the US economy.

The technology heavy Nikkei 225 dropped by 3.8 per cent, it’s biggest daily fall in 11 months, to a four-month low of 10,938. The broader based Topix index of stocks fell by 3.6 per cent to 1,109.

Falls were broad across a variety of sectors, including heavy industry stocks and new economy shares. Japan Steel Works fell 9.05 per cent to Y201, after Nomura Securities cut its rating from “buy” to “neutral”.

Shipping stocks also performed badly, as talks to ease Chinese hostility faltered over the weekend. Steel and shipping firms have benefited from booming demand in China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, and investors are concerned over a Chinese boycott of Japanese products.

Computer stocks also fared badly, as analysts continued to worry about IT demand in the wake of last week’s poor earnings from IBM, the world’s biggest computer company, and South Korea’s Samsung. Tokyo Electron, the maker of IT manufacturing equipment, fell 4.4 per cent to Y5,620.

Travel businesses were also hurt as tourists cancelled tours to China, for fear of animosity from local people as the row over the Japanese government’s recent approval of a controversial history textbook continued to rage. Shares in Kinki Nippon Tourist slid 7.3 per cent to Y267. Eurasia Travel fell by 11.4 per cent to Y295,000.

Taiyo Yuden, the electronic components manufacturer, fell 4.4 per cent to Y1,100 after reports of a strike at the company’s factory in China.

Shares of exporters were under downward pressure following Friday’s data from the US on weaker-than-expected spending.

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