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Japan stocks close down 2.93%

Tokyo stocks tumbled 2.93 per cent on Wednesday as they played catch-up to losses on Wall Street and as the yen rose against the dollar, denting exporter shares.

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks tumbled 2.93 per cent on Wednesday as they played catch-up to losses on Wall Street and as the yen rose against the dollar, denting exporter shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 424.06 points to 14,033.45 at the close, while the Topix index of all first-section issues fell 2.58 per cent, or 30.47 points, to 1,152.01.

Tokyo markets were closed on Monday and Tuesday for national holidays.

In forex trading, the dollar weakened to 101.45 yen, from 101.73 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon and 102.36 yen in Tokyo on Friday before the Japanese holidays.

A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and erodes repatriated profits.

US stocks retreated on Tuesday as a sell-off of Twitter shares revived worries about the tech sector and as disappointing earnings from insurer AIG hit financial stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.78 per cent to 16,401.02.

Investors were also jittery over the Ukraine crisis.

Russia rejected a new peace initiative for Ukraine on Tuesday as fears of open war mounted in the ex-Soviet republic, whose troops are waging a deadly offensive against pro-Moscow rebels.

Investors are awaiting the congressional testimony of US Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen later in the day to see if she gives any clues about the state of the economy.

In Tokyo share trading, SoftBank was down 5.10 per cent to 7,420 yen after rising early in the day on a report in the leading Nikkei economic daily that the mobile carrier was expected to report a record net profit for the year ended in March, thanks largely to its aggressive overseas buying spree.

SoftBank published its fiscal year to March results after the closing bell, reporting a record 527 billion yen ($5.19 billion) in net profit.

Nintendo, which was also to announce earnings results Wednesday afternoon, fell 2.73 per cent to 10,670 yen.

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