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Friday, March 07, 2003

Down and Down We Go Again

Of course, all this continuing economic uncertainty is doing nothing to revive interest in buying shares in the stock markets. Yesterday it was Japans turn with the Nikkei howevring near two decade lows and the Topix falling straight through.

Tokyo shares fell on Friday morning after a speech by George W. Bush, the US president, increased market nerves, while a report of a probe into alleged stock manipulation by Nikko Salomon Smith Barney hit brokerages.The Topix index fell to a two-decade low on war fears, losing 1.1 per cent to 807.36. The Nikkei average was down 1.2 per cent at 8,269.21. Shares in Sony fell 2.5 per cent to Y4,220 as investors expect the electronics exporter to be one of the front line casualties if war in Iraq leads to a fall in US consumer spending.

The brokerage sector put in the worst performance of the morning after a local newspaper said Nikko Salomon Smith Barney would be investigated by Japan’s securities watchdog on allegations of manipulating stock prices. Shares in Nikko Cordial, which set up the brokerage in a joint venture with Citigroup of the US, fell 9.9 per cent to Y382. Nomura, Japan’s leading brokerage, lost 2.9 per cent to Y1,314. Semiconductor equipment makers were also down after Intel said on Thursday that its revenues in the first quarter could fall 2.7 per cent against the previous year. Advantest lost 3.5 per cent to Y4,960 and Tokyo Electron shed 1. 3 per cent to Y5,230. Hitachi fell 3.7 per cent at Y466 after the company said it may consider selling its headquarters building to a real estate investment trust to help it cut costs.
Source: Financial Times

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