Nikkei Hit by U.S. Slide: Lowest Close Since March 24, 1999 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday September 27 2:34 AM ET

Nikkei Hit by U.S. Slide: Lowest Close Since March 24, 1999

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo stocks ended sharply lower on Wednesday as leading technology shares took their marching orders from Wall Street and extended recent declines, with the key Nikkei average closing at its lowest since March 24, 1999.

Some investors switched to domestic demand-related sectors such as real estate to wait out the prolonged slide in technology shares, but such buying proved insufficient to bolster the overall market, traders said.

``In the first place, activity is sluggish at this time of year, when players have not really started trading for the second half of the business year (to next March). The downtrend in New York pushed buyers further to the sidelines,'' said Koji Hatano, strategist at Sakura Institute of Research.

The benchmark Nikkei average finished down 288.67 points or 1.81 percent at 15,639.95 and December Nikkei futures dropped 270 points to 15,700.

The capital-weighted TOPIX index of all shares listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section fell 25.41 points or 1.72 percent to 1,448.11, its lowest finish since September 27 of last year.

Chip shares, still nervous after a revenue warning by top U.S. semiconductor maker Intel Corp last week, continued their downward path.

Fujitsu Ltd tumbled 5.03 percent to 2,550 yen and Toshiba Corp lost 2.57 percent to 872 yen, while Japan's largest chip maker, NEC Corp, shed 4.25 percent to 2,365 yen and is down 13 percent since the Intel shock.

Intel's news was particularly damaging because those chip makers, most of which raised earnings forecasts in recent weeks, were expected to play a leading role in pushing the Tokyo market higher, traders said.

Semiconductor-related shares followed chip makers lower. Advantest Corp, a manufacturer of semiconductor-testing devices, fell 2.14 percent to 17,340 yen and Tokyo Electron Ltd, a semiconductor-manufacturing equipment maker, shed 5.99 percent to 10,050 yen.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 27, 2000

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