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Tokyo shares plunge 6.18%

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo shares plummeted more than six percent Monday as investors reacted to the biggest earthquake in Japan's history, a devastating tsunami and an unfolding nuclear emergency.

Shares tumbled below as the key index fell below the 10,000 point mark. The day's plunge in the Nikkei-225 was the biggest since October 2008.

The Nikkei index closed down 6.18 percent, or 633.94 points, at 9,620.49.  

The Topix index of all first section issued lost 7.49 percent or 68.55 points, to end at 846.96.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average fell 487 points, or 4.8 percent, to 9,767.18. (AP-Yonhap News)
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average fell 487 points, or 4.8 percent, to 9,767.18. (AP-Yonhap News)


The market was already weighed down before the earthquake by unrest in the Middle East, eurozone debt worries, a wider-than-expected US trade deficit and China's announcement of a rare trade deficit for February.

Nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. crashed 23.57 percent to 1,621 yen, following an explosion Monday in the building around the number three reactor at the troubled Fukushima No 1. plant.

Authorities have announced plans for scheduled rolling power cuts in areas served by TEPCO to make up for the loss of power from crippled nuclear plants.

Auto shares were also among the major losers, with Toyota, Nissan and Honda all suspending production in Japan for the time being.

Toyota fell 7.92 percent to 3,310 yen, Honda dropped 6.49 percent to 3,095, and Nissan lost 9.52 percent to 722 yen.

The yen stood at 82.09 to the dollar after briefly touching a four-month high on the biggest-ever liquidity injection by the Bank of Japan in a bid to stabilise markets. The euro stood at $1.3939.

 

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