Tokyo stocks close down 0.93%
Market watch top headlines
November 12 2012, 8:07PM
TOKYO, Nov 12 AFP - Tokyo's benchmark index has fallen 0.93 per cent on fears over a US budget standoff and worries about the slowing Japanese economy, while a strong yen also weighed on shares.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday closed down 81.16 points at 8,676.44, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 1.12 per cent, or 8.16 points, to 722.58.
All eyes are on Washington where a fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes is looming - which will likely send the world's biggest economy into recession - if legislators cannot agree on a new deal.
"The stand-off over the fiscal cliff impasse is extending its paralysis to the stock market," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
Adding to the sense of dread for the global outlook, Japan on Monday released data showing its economy contracted 0.9 per cent in the July-September quarter, underscoring fears that the country's post-disaster recovery has stalled.
Investors are also looking to results from Japan's major lenders later this week at the tail-end of the latest earnings season.
"The market is in a lull before the release of major banks' earnings later this week," CLSA equity strategist Nicholas Smith told Dow Jones Newswires.
In Tokyo trade, department store group Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings was down 3.27 per cent at Y709 after cutting its full-year outlook, while convenience store operator Seven&i Holdings lost 1.56 per cent to Y2,332.
The yen's strength dragged down exporters, with Toyota down 1.75 per cent at Y3,085 and Sony off 2.61 per cent at Y856.
Moody's on Friday downgraded Sony's credit rating for the second time in a month as one of Japan's best-known consumer electronics firms struggles to return to profitability.
This summer, Sony shares tumbled below Y1,000 for the first time since 1980.
Suzuki Motor jumped 4.49 per cent to Y1,835 after posting a sharp rise in first-half profit.
Mazda Motor rose 0.95 per cent to Y106 after news of a tie-up with Toyota to make vehicles in Mexico for the North American market.
In currency trading, the euro bought $US1.2727 in Tokyo, up from $US1.2709 in New York late on Friday, while it fetched Y101.14 from Y100.99.
The dollar was down slightly at 79.43 yen.