Tokyo stock market sell-off closes week of turmoil | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 12.02.2016
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Tokyo stock market sell-off closes week of turmoil

Shares listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange have taken yet another dive as uncertainties over the state of the US economy keep sending the yen up, thus hammering exporters. Central bank intervention may be near.

Tokyo stocks plunged again on Friday, with the benchmark Nikkei-225 shedding another 4.84 percent. It sealed a disastrous 11-percent drop in the index in a holiday-shortened week.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares dipped 5.43 percent on the final day of the trading week, marking a 12-percent loss since Monday.

Before a one-day public holiday on Thursday, the Nikkei had already closed at its lowest level since October 2014 when the Bank of Japan unleashed a second wave of monetary stimulus that sparked a big stock rally.

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The renewed stock rout in Tokyo was preceded by US Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments on the domestic economy in which she admitted that market turmoil and tighter financial conditions were posing increasing risks to the US economy.

Central bank intervention?

"The market is saying we're worried no matter what Yellen says and [Tokyo] shows there can be no real relief until we can truly see what's happening in the US economy," Nomuro Holdings strategist Juichi Wako told Bloomberg.

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Ongoing volatility has prompted Japanese officials to say they would take "appropriate counter-measures," sparking speculation the central bank may intervene in currency markets for the first time since 2011, particularly with a view to stopping the yen's rise.

The strong national currency has been a headache for Japanese exporters for a long time. Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were reported to have met on Friday to debate the latest developments on financial markets.

hg/pad (AFP, dpa)

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