Japan's Nikkei stock index extended losses for a fourth straight day Wednesday tumbling 2.10 percent to a three-week closing low, as the yen's appreciation and the central bank holding ground on its stimulus program soured the market mood.
There were hopes the Bank of Japan (BOJ) may further ease its monetary policy in the wake of April's consumption tax hike, but BOJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda said in a press briefing Tuesday, after the markets closed, that the economy here was back on track and gave no indications of further easing, strategists here said, despite the bank's lofty inflation target.
Isao Kubo, an equity strategist at Nissay Asset Management Corp. said that despite economists predicting the BOJ would stay pat on its stimulus policy, some investors hoped for Kuroda to hint at further easing, but, following his comments, incentives to buy Wednesday were dashed.
Other local strategists like Takashi Hiroki, from Monex Inc. added that the yen's rise and poor performances on Wall Street also contributed to Wednesday's risk off-mood.
The Nikkei Stock Average lost 307.19 points from Tuesday to close at 14,299.69, while the broader Topix index dropped 24.12 points, or 2.05 percent, to finish at 1,150.44.
Exporters took another pummeling on the yen's appreciation and consumer electronics giant Sony tumbled 3.4 percent to 1,895 yen and Mazda Motor Corp. skidded down 3.7 percent to 443 yen.
But it was Toyota Motor who was in the spotlight Wednesday, following the world's largest automaker's recall of more than 6 million vehicles globally owing to a number of problems possibly affecting as many as 30 models in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other smaller overseas markets.
Toyota crashed down 3.07 percent to 5,450 yen, following the massive recall -- with a defective engine starter reportedly causing at least two fires in its vehicles, as just one of the problems sparking the colossal recall.
Olympus also came under selling pressure Wednesday, with the camera and medical equipment maker losing 1.93 percent to 2,991 yen, after the firm reported that six banks had filed lawsuits for compensation over a 2011 accounting scandal.
Takeda Pharmaceutical weighed heavily on the market, dropping a further 1.09 percent to 4,522 yen, after a 5.2 percent slump yesterday, as a U.S. federal jury has charged the firm with 6 billion U.S. dollars in punitive damages, following the firm concealing dangers connected to a line of its diabetes medication.
Real estate issues lost ground following their target prices being lowered by Deutsche Bank, and Mitsubishi Estate dropped 4.7 percent to 2,332 yen, while Mitsui Fudosan plunged 5.4 percent to 3,012 yen. Sumitomo Realty also closed in negative territory, down 3.8 percent to 4,029 yen.
But some tech-firms were bright spots