Japan’s Nikkei average slid Friday to mark its ninth straight week of losses, the longest such run in 20 years, after disappointing Chinese and US data deepened fears of a global slowdown in the throes of Europe’s debt crisis.
Exporters were hurt by a double whammy of data suggesting slowing demand for their products and a strong yen, which rocketed to an 11-1/2 year high against the euro and stayed firm against the dollar as investors flocked to buy the safe-haven currency.
‘‘The problem is that although Japanese stocks are technically cheap according to historical barometers, the market has always moved more on foreign factors than domestic ones,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Canon Inc Mazda Motor Corp Nissan Motor Co and Sony Corp lost between 3 and 4 per cent.
Stocks with high exposure to China sagged after its official purchasing index (PMI) fell to a year-to-date low of 50.4 in May, the latest indicator of slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
The figure came in well under the consensus of 52.2 expected by economists polled by Reuters, and down from 53.3 in April. Komatsu Ltd dropped 4.3 percent and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd lost 4.2 percent.
The Nikkei fell 1.2 and was down 1.6 per cent on the week. On Thursday it logged a drop of 10.3 per cent in May, its worst monthly performance in two years, dogged by signs of slowing growth and shrinking global demand. It has fallen 17.7 per cent since hitting a one-year high on March 27.
Investors sought refuge in defensives, with telecoms firms benefiting. NTT DoCoMo put on 3 pern cent, while KDDI Corp gained 1.4 pe cent and Softbank Corp added 11per cent.
The Nikkei was wallowing deep in "oversold" territory, with its 14-day relative strength index at 26.96, prompting hopes of a technical rebound or gains spurred by bargain-hunting. An RSI of under 30 is considered oversold.
If the Nikkei falls for a tenth week next week it will mark its worst string of weekly losses in 37 years, a plausible milestone as investors await the outcome of a June 17 Greek election that could push the country to leave the euro zone. Some market watchers were more optimistic, however.