Tokyo stocks closed lower Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index falling 1.70 percent on renewed concerns about Europe's debt woes as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou asked the public to vote on whether Athens should accept the new deal agreed on by European leaders to bailout the debt-ridden nation.
Local brokers said that shares in firms like Panasonic Corp. and Fanuc lost ground on an overall pessimistic market mood on Tuesday, specifically on fears that Europe is far from putting its debt issues behind it and that the pace of manufacturing in China may be slowing.
Papandreou unexpectedly called a referendum on Monday to decide on the E.U. bailout deal for Greece. A snap election could result if the Greek public chooses to reject the deal.
"We trust citizens, we believe in their judgment, we believe in their decisions. In a few weeks the agreement will be a new loan contract we must spell out if we are accepting it or if we are rejecting it," Papandreou, who is dealing with Greek's worst financial crisis in 40 years, told ruling Socialist party leaders.
Following Papandreou's announcement, the euro fell further against the U.S. dollar and analysts here said that the move may well derail resolutions agreed upon by European leaders to steer the region out of its crippling debt.
"Papandreou's comments poured cold water on agreements that Europe finally got into shape last week," said Ayako Sera, a strategist at Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. "The Greek Prime Minister is thrusting responsibility onto the public. That sparked a lot of risk-off moves in the market," she said.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 152.87 points to close at 8,835.52, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 9.56 points, or 1.25 percent, to finish the day at 754.50.
Also contributing to a lackluster market mood was mid-morning news that a key manufacturing gauge in China had dropped for the first time in three months and to its lowest level since 2009.
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 50.4 percent in October after rising for two consecutive months, down 0. 8 percentage points from September, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Tuesday.
The CFLP report said the decline indicated the country's economic growth might continue to slow in the fourth quarter.
Subsequently, China-linked shares declined with industrial robotics manufacturer Fanuc falling 3.6 percent to 12,460 yen and Hitachi Construction Machinery losing 2.9 percent to finish at 1, 496 yen. Komatsu Ltd., meanwhile, lost 1.8 percent to 1,940 yen.
Exporters also comprised today's notable decliners as they were pressured by currency fluctuations and worse-than-expected earnings reports and forecasts due to the yen's recent strength clouding profit outlooks.
Honda Motor was flat at 2,406 yen, following the automaker posting July-September quarter earnings that missed market expectations and declining to report its yearly forecast.
Panasonic plunged 5.1 percent to 768 yen after the consumer electronics maker forecast its biggest loss in 10 years, slumping TV business and plans to slash 17,000 jobs.
Mitsubishi Corp. also closed in negative territory, falling 2.4 percent to 1,601 yen, after the trading house reported an 8 percent drop in operating profit and a yearly outlook that came in well below median expectations.
Trading volume on Monday slipped to 1.46 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, down from Monday's volume of 1.77 billion shares, with declining issues outnumbering advancing ones by 1,095 to 429.