The country’s Nikkei
index dropped more than 3% Friday morning, in the market’s first day of trading following the New Year break.
The losses came on the back of a
660-point fall in the Dow
Thursday, after Apple (APPL
) warned it will badly miss
its quarterly sales forecast because of weakening growth in China.
“For Japanese markets, the return from the New Year’s day holidays has been bitter,” said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist at broker IG Group.
Among the stocks hit in Tokyo were Apple suppliers Sharp (SHCAY
) and Kyocera (KYOCY
), which both slumped by more than 4%.
Apple, among the world’s most widely held stocks, on Thursday plummeted 10% in its darkest day in six years.
The news sent shudders through global markets. The Nasdaq
plunged 3%, closing back in bear market territory. The S&P 500
shed 2.5%, led lower by tech and industrial stocks. The market ended near the lows of the day.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
and China’s Shanghai Composite
gained about 1% in morning trading. That followed an announcement from China’s Commerce Ministry that a US government delegation would resume trade talks in China early next week.
Like many other major markets, Japanese stocks are on a dismal run. The Nikkei fell about 15% last year, more than double the loss of the Dow in 2018.
Traders may also have been spooked by movements in the yen Thursday, when the Japanese currency unexpectedly rose sharply against the dollar. A stronger yen is often bad for Japanese stocks, because it can hurt corporate earnings in the country’s large export sector.
Investors may find little comfort in the strength of Japan’s economy.
Japan until recently enjoyed its longest streak of economic growth in decades, but the economy started to sputter
in 2018. It shrank at an annualized rate of 1.2% in the third quarter of last year. That’s despite years of unorthodox monetary policies
aimed at stimulating growth.
The world’s third-biggest economy faces serious challenges, including a rapidly aging population, a lack of women in the workforce and stubbornly low inflation.
An anticipated rise in consumption tax later in 2019 could also weigh on the Japanese economy.
Matt Egan and Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.