Tokyo stocks plunge as Middle East tensions escalate

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19th April 2024 – (Tokyo) Tokyo’s stock market experienced a significant downturn on Friday, with the Nikkei 225 Index recording its steepest decline since February 2021, as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East unnerved investors. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed the day down 1,011.35 points, or 2.66 per cent, settling at 37,068.35.

The broader Topix index also felt the impact, concluding the session 51.13 points lower, a drop of 1.91 per cent, to finish at 2,626.32. Market sentiment was heavily influenced by the escalating conflict between Israel and Iran, which prompted a surge in crude oil prices and a flight to the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds.

From the opening bell, Japanese stocks were under pressure, with the Nikkei briefly plummeting over 1,300 points to dip below the 37,000 mark for the first time in more than two months. This sharp decline was broadly felt across various sectors, with significant losses particularly noticeable among heavyweight semiconductor companies. Tokyo Electron, for instance, saw a substantial decrease of 8.7 per cent in its stock value, while Advantest reported a decline of 4.4 per cent.