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North Korea nuclear stance hurts Tokyo markets

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by Elaine Frei

The Tokyo equities markets were lower on Wednesday after North Korea again said that it is planning on testing a nuclear device at some point. The Nikkei 225 and the Topix index each dropped 1 percent to 16,082.55 and 1,601.99 respectively. The Mothers index of small and mid-cap stocks did even worse, falling 2.1 percent to 1,180.36.

Falling commodity prices were also a factor in declines, as commodity-related stocks were down on the session. Upstream oil company Inpex was 2.1 percent lower to ¥873,000, while downstream oil company Cosmo Oil dropped 3.4 percent to ¥458. Nippon Mining, which both smelts copper and refines oil, fell 5.6 percent to ¥778.

The electronics sector was also lower. Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world’s biggest consumer electronics manufacturer, declined 1.3 percent to ¥2,515, while Sony fell another 3.3 percent to ¥4,450 after Tuesday’s announcement that it will not launch its Blu-ray optical disc recorder in Japan until December, a month after Matsushita introduces its version.

The worries over Korea’s nuclear program also hit the banking sector. Mitsubishi UFJ dropped 0.7 percent to ¥1,500,000 and Mizuho was 1.3 percent lower to ¥900,000. In the real estate sector, meanwhile, Mitsui Fudosan was up 0.4 percent to ¥2,695 and Mitsubishi Estate added 1.5 percent to ¥2,655, but Nomura Real Estate, which began trade on Tuesday, was 1.9 percent lower in Wednesday’s session to ¥4,040.

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News posted: October 4, 2006

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