Tokyo’s key Nikkei index tumbled more than 3.0 percent on Friday. COURTESY
Tokyo’s key Nikkei index tumbled more than 3.0 percent on Friday, following a rout on Wall Street as rising bond yields in the United States and elsewhere stoked inflation fears. Shortly after the open, the Nikkei was down 3.03 percent, or 913.44 points, at 29,254.83, while the broader Topix index dropped 2.28 percent, or 43.98 points, to 1,882.25.
“Equities are starting to quiver on the outlook for higher rates with losses led by the tech sector,” said Tapas Strickland, senior analyst at National Australia Bank. The dollar was higher, changing hands at 106.35 yen in early Asian trade, against 106.25 yen in New York and 105.89 yen in Tokyo late Thursday. “Japanese shares are seen dominated by sell-orders as investors were discouraged by sharp falls in US stocks,” senior strategist Yoshihiro Ito of Okasan Online Securities said.
The plunge in Tokyo comes after Wall Street stocks ended sharply lower, with the Dow dropping 1.8 percent to 31,402.01, retreating from an all-time high set Wednesday. Stocks had been under pressure as investors monitored the 10-year US Treasury yield, which has been rising sharply in recent days and got as high as 1.61 percent on Thursday.
Investors fear a spike in inflation will prompt the US Federal Reserve to shift away from easy-money policies and quickly raise interest rates —despite the central bank’s assurances to the contrary. In Tokyo, Toyota was down 1.42 percent at 7,904 yen after a report said it plans to postpone the start of operations at its new plant in Myanmar, with the country in crisis after the military seized power on February 1.
Its rivals were also lower, with Honda trading down 1.64 percent at 2,976.5 yen and Nissan off 1.33 percent at 578.2 yen. Trading house Mitsubishi Corp was down 0.82 percent at 3,017 yen after a report said it plans to withdraw from a coal-fired power plant in Vietnam.Its rival Itochu was down 1.49 percent at 3,182 yen after a report said the Japanese firm and French industrial gas supplier Air Liquide plan to build a liquid hydrogen plant in central Japan.