Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nikkei falls to 6-mth low on European debt worries

TOKYO: Japan's Nikkei average fell to a six-month low on Wednesday, June 9 as investors worried about whether Europe can tackle its debt woes after Fitch Ratings said the UK faced a "formidable" fiscal challenge.

Honda Motor, which has just settled one strike in China, dropped 3.3% as another strike at a supplier there moved into its third day, hobbling production at two of its local car plants.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty about the future, a lot of investors closing out positions due to risk avoidance," said Hiroaki Osakabe, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

"Without buying at the lows from pension funds the way we saw yesterday, the market will be prone to slides," he said, adding that there was market talk of selling by European institutional investors.

European shares fell on Tuesday, hitting a near two-week closing low, after Fitch said Britain faced a "formidable" challenge to cut government borrowing and needs more ambitious plans to reduce the deficit over the medium term.

Some in the market said there was also concern about Bulgaria after European Commission Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said the commission was concerned about the quality of Bulgarian statistics and wants to send a mission there when Eurostat gets new auditing powers.

In thin trade, the benchmark Nikkei shed 1.4% or 132.04 points to 9,405.90 after earlier falling as far as 9,378.23, its lowest since early December, and appeared on track for a six-month closing low as well.

The broader Topix shed 1.2% to 848.32.

A wide range of Japanese stocks fell, with blue-chip stocks leading the slide. Canon Inc shed 2.4% to ''3,600 and Sony Corp slipped 2.1% to ''2,554.

Honda fell to ''2,609, with some market players saying that foreign investors were likely selling the stock on worries about the impact of the strike on its earnings. ' Reuters

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