According to Reuters, the Japanese Nikkei average fell by 2 percent Tuesday indicating a reversal from the nine and a half months of highs. This marks the first decline the Nikkei is posting in the past seven days. Analysts attribute the decline to profit-taking in blue-chip shares as investors are becoming concerned about the unrest in the Middle East.
The midday break in the Nikkei average was at 10,644.38 points dipping as low as 10,639.78. This is the lowest level it has reached in almost two weeks. The day’s selloff makes it difficult for analysts to comment on whether this represents the advent of a more extensive correction in Asia’s best performing index or whether it is a temporary effect of the Middle East turmoil. Yumi Nishimura, a market analyst at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets is quoted in Reuters confirming these analyses. Additionally, the analysis afforded by the Straits Times indicates that there may be alternate causalities.
In addition to the protests and instability in the middle east, the recent earthquake in New Zealand as well as the downgrade of Japan’s credit rating have also adversely affected market outlooks. Oil prices are skyrocketing to $93 per barrel, while the Moody’s Investor Service casted doubt on Japan’s solvency for its massive debt.
Perhaps indicating a broader trend in the global market, the stocks exchanges in Europe opened lower than expect. Investors are eagerly awaiting the open of the US stock exchanges to see how resilient they will be in the face of this conflict.
Other Asian stock exchanges are showing mixed result. Apart from the discouraging news from the Tokoy’s Nikkei index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Composite Index was up by 7.54 points to 2,939.78. The Hang Seng Index, which captures the activity of the Hong Kong exchange, fell by 1.52 percent down 355.90 points at 23.129.52.
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