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March 16, 2006

Tokyo markets down on interest rate concerns

Permalink: Tokyo markets down on interest rate concerns
by Elaine Frei

Japanese equities markets declined significantly on Thursday on a plunging real estate sector, as concerns about the possibility of interest rate hikes worried some investors even while some analysts said the concerns were misplaced.

The Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 percent to 16,096.21, while the Topix index declined by 1.3 percent to 1,645.06.

The real estate sector dropped 3.7 percent overall, falling to below its level at the end of 2005. Sumitomo Realty & Development dropped 6.6 percent to ¥2,510, further damaged by a downgrade from Mizuho Securities. Mitsui Fudosan was down 4.4 percent ¥2,150, while Mitsubishi Estate was down 3.2 percent to ¥2,455.

Other domestic sectors were hit by interest rate concerns, as well. The banking sector dropped 2.3 percent overall, with Mitsubishi UFJ losing 2.4 percent to ¥1,650,000, SMFG down 3.2 percent to ¥1,220,000, and Resona declining by 3.1 percent to ¥374,000.

Seven & I, which operates convenience and department stores, was down 3.2 percent to ¥4,280 as the retail sector as a whole lost 1.5 percent on the day.

In export-reliant sectors, consumer electronics manufacturer Sony was down 1.8 percent to ¥5,370 when it said it will not release its PlayStation 3 game console until November.



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