Japan Stocks Take Sharp Losses After U.S. Sell-down

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks wilted at the Thursday open under selling heat from the pullback in U.S. markets, including a 2.4% fall for the Nasdaq. About 40 minutes into the session, the Nikkei Stock Average was 1% weaker, as was the broader Topix, erasing mild gains from a day ealier. Although the yen escaped a bout of dollar weakness with relatively little change (dollar buying �119.46 vs. �119.65 at the previous Tokyo stock close), the scope of losses overnight on Wall Street was enough to deliver a hard slap to some of Japan's best-known names: Sony Corp. fell 3%, Fujitsu Ltd. dropped 2.8%, Nissan Motor Co. retreated 1.7%, and Panasonic Corp. softened by 1%. Shares of Sharp Corp. lost 2%, even as a Nikkei news report said the struggling electronics major planned to cut management salaries by 5% and wages for other workers by 2%. Nintendo Co. managed to contain its loss to 0.5% after releasing some details on its planned next-generation videogame console, called the NX. Likewise, telecom KDDI Corp. escaped with a mere 0.1% loss, possibly helped by news it would be the first to launch the new Butterfly 3 handset from Taiwan's HTC Corp. Bucking the downtrend, however, a surge for oil futures -- which accelerated after news broke that Saudi Arabia and its allies had intervened in Yemen's civil war -- juiced the energy stocks. Among them, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. rose 1.9%, JX Holdings Inc. added 1%, and Inpex Corp. rose 0.4%.

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