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Tokyo stocks drop 1.90% in afternoon, Nikkei 225 slips 324.48pts

Tokyo stocks drop 1.90% in afternoon, Nikkei 225 slips 324.48pts

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks descended 1.90 percent Tuesday morning, following huge losses on Wall Street and a plunge in oil prices, while a stronger yen punched exporters.
Tokyo stocks descended 1.90precent lower on Tuesday,following huge losses on Wall Street and a
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 324.48 points to 16,774.92 by the break and the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 1.70 percent, or 23.41 points, at 1,355.88.
“Weakness in oil prices is contributing to the Wall Street slump. Global markets are still in a correction phase, with Japan feeling the fallout,” SMBC Nikko Securities equities manager Hiroichi Nishi said.
“In thinly traded markets, volatility tends to be higher.”
Adding to the gloom, British banking giant HSBC said China s manufacturing activity shrank in December, with its closely watched purchasing managers index (PMI) hitting a seven-month low.
In forex markets, the dollar weakened further against the yen owing to uncertainty caused by slumping crude prices, which are at their lowest levels in more than five and a half years.
On Tuesday in Asia, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery fell 38 cents to $55.53 while Brent crude for January eased 48 cents to $60.58 — both to levels last seen in mid-2009.
The plunge in prices has also hammered Russia, spooking investors.
“Oil prices continue to slide, and that is now the chief worry to Russia, which is essentially an oil-exporting economy,” Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“The creeping fear is that Russia may default, reminding investors of the prior Greek fiscal panic, and require a bailout. Beyond that, a domino effect of worsening fiscal conditions at other oil-exporting nations may take hold.
“Oil prices look far from settled at the mid-$50 level, so more pain may yet be in store.”
The greenback fetched 117.59 yen in Tokyo, down from 117.81 yen in New York Monday afternoon.
In share trading, Sony fell 0.95 percent to 2,330.5 yen, Toyota was off 1.55 percent at 7,197.0 yen and market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, sank 1.33 percent to 41,730.0 yen.
Bucking the downturn, Skymark Airlines soared 20.87 percent to 359.0 yen after Japan s leading Nikkei business daily said the firm was in tie-up talks with both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.