Tokyo stocks dropped for a third straight day Monday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index losing 1.98 percent as investors remained nervous over emerging markets and capital outflows.
Brokers here pointed to an overall weak investment environment as seeing investors sell on Monday and linked the risk-averse mood to falling stocks in Europe and the U.S. on Friday as global markets remain on edge about the potential for capital flights from emerging economies.
The U.S. Federal Reserve winding in its stimulus program recently has seen investors switch out of emerging economies' currencies and back to safe havens like the Japanese yen and other major currencies, with traders here saying the risk off mood remains strong.
"The risk-off mood is pretty strong," said Naoki Fujiwara, a chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management Co.
"Individuals and hedge funds are wanting to take money off the table. Emerging-market currencies are still facing problems that started with the Fed's tapering and falling into a negative cycle. The positivity we saw at the start of the year is being corrected, " Fujiwara said.
Aside from ongoing woes about emerging economies, market players also said that shares dropped today on concerns about the economic health of the U.S. and investors were hitting the sidelines, or locking in gains where possible, ahead of a slew of economic data due out of the U.S. this week, including Friday's jobs data.
Takuya Takahashi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co., said that Tokyo shares extended declines in reaction to still shaky New York stocks and pointed to the upcoming U.S. economic data as being key to investors taking up new positions, having thoroughly studied the implications of each set of statistics.
Takahashi added that only then will investors know for sure what kind of economic footing the U.S. is actually on.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 295.40 points from Friday to close at 14,619.13, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 24.32 points, or 1.99 percent, to finish at 1,196.32.
With the dollar slipping versus the Japanese yen to the 102 yen level, exporters duly retreated as they rely on a weak yen to boost competitiveness and profits made overseas.
Sony, maker of Bravia LCD TVs and PlayStation game consoles, fell 2.8 percent to 1,581 yen, while rival Panasonic slumped 3.8 percent to 1,139 yen.
Utility-related shares lost ground Monday, with Hokkaido Electric dropping 9 percent to 984 yen, following the firm's forecast of a full-year net loss of 77 billion yen and reports it won't pay a dividend.
Kansai Electric, meanwhile, fell 7.8 percent to 1,024 yen, following forecasts of a worse-than-expected 98 billion yen net loss, while Kyushu Electric retreated 4.5 percent to 1,134 yen after reporting it expects a 125 billion yen loss for the year.
Among Japan's airline carriers, Japan Airlines fell 2.13 percent to 5,050 yen, following announcing its nine-month net profit had dropped on rising fuel costs, while ANA Holdings lost 2. 29 percent to 213 yen, after reporting its net profit in the same period dropped dramatically.
Brokerages were among today's notable decliners, with Daiwa Securities relinquishing 4.9 percent to 923 yen, while Nomura Holdings Inc. lost 3.3 percent to 701 yen.
Other bellwether's came under selling pressure Monday, with Softbank sliding 6.6 percent to 7,064 yen, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing lost 2.4 percent to close the day at 37,185 yen.
Notable gainers however included Mitsubishi Electric who advanced 0.9 percent to 1,189 yen after raising its net profit outlook for the current fiscal year and NGK Insulators soared 12 percent to 1,964 yen, the most on the Nikkei 225, following the company raising its profit forecast by 8 percent.
Seiko Epson Corp. also closed in positive territory, surging 13 percent to 3,055 yen after lifting its full-year net-income forecast by 53 percent, exceeding median analysts expectations.
Trading volume on Monday dropped to 2.92 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, down from Friday's volume of 3.08 billion shares, with declining issues trumping advancing ones by 1, 592 to 162.