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Asia-pacific

Nikkei closes at lowest year-end level since 1982

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-30

Japan's Nikkei closed 2011 at its lowest year-end level since 1982, and down 17.34% from 2010's closing figure. Japan's financial woes were worsened by the Fukushima disaster in March as well as eurozone-related panic selling.

AFP - Japan's headline Nikkei-225 index finished 2011 at its lowest year-end level since 1982, despite rising on Friday thanks to upbeat US data.

The Nikkei index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished at 8,455.35, down 17.34 percent, or 1,773.57 points, from the 2010 close of 10,228.92, with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami taking its toll on share prices.

It was the worst year-end figure since 1982, when the index saw out December at 8,016.67.

On the day, the benchmark index closed up 56.46 points or 0.67 percent from the previous day.

The Topix index of all first section issues closed the day's session 0.90 percent or 6.49 points higher at 728.61.

"There were a few times when the Nikkei index recovered to 9,000 to 10,000 after the disaster, but it didn't hold at those levels too long," Daisuke Uno, chief market strategist of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., told AFP.

"The Tokyo stock market has had a weak year, falling about 2,000 points since the beginning of the year," he said.

Tokyo shares, which had ended above the 10,400 level on the day before the disaster, plummeted to 8,605.15 on March 15, as Japan was gripped by the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen since Chernobyl.

Investors are not optimistic about the coming year with the eurozone sovereign debt crisis expected to continue taking its toll on the global economy.

"As the year 2012 begins, market participants will likely be reminded that the European fiscal problems continue to worsen," Dai-ichi Life Research Institute chief economist Yoshikiyo Shimamine told Dow Jones Newswires.

"The market's focus, whether willing or not, will be on Europe at the beginning of the New Year, as rating companies are expected to announce results of their reviews on eurozone nations," he added.

Date created : 2011-12-30

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