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Japanese Market Plunges

The Japanese stock market is plunging on Thursday, with stocks losing across the board, following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street amid worries about rising interest rates and as the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is falling 816.84 points or 3.48 percent to 22,689.20, after touching a low of 22,658.14 in early trades.

Tech stocks are tumbling, tracking the overnight weakness in their U.S. counterparts amid rising U.S.-China tensions. Advantest and Tokyo Electron are falling almost 5 percent each.

The major exporters are sharply lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are losing almost 5 percent each, Panasonic is down 4 percent and Canon is declining more than 2 percent.

Among auto makers, Toyota is declining more than 2 percent and Honda is losing more than 3 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is falling more than 3 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 4 percent.

In the oil space, Japan Petroleum is falling almost 5 percent and Inpex is tumbling more than 4 percent after crude oil prices fell more than 2 overnight.

Among the other major losers, Nippon Sheet Glass is falling more than 8 percent, Taiyo Yuden is losing almost 8 percent and SoftBank is lower by almost 7 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 0.3 percent on month in September, following the flat reading in August. On a yearly basis, producer prices were up 3.0 percent - unchanged from the previous two months.

The Bank of Japan also said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.3 percent on year in September, coming in at 528.660 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 2.2 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 112 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks tumbled on Wednesday amid lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates following a recent increase in treasury yields and due to trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Technology stocks helped to lead the way lower on Wall Street, with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Facebook all posting significant losses.

The Dow plunged 831.83 points or 3.2 percent to 25,598.74, the Nasdaq plummeted 315.97 points or 4.1 percent to 7,422.05 and the S&P 500 tumbled 94.66 points or 3.3 percent to 2,785.68.

The major European markets showed substantial moves to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.3 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index plummeted by 2.1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, amid prospects of a drop in crude demand due to weak global economic growth outlook. WTI crude for November delivery tumbled $1.79 or 2.4 percent to $73.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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