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Japanese Market Tumbles

The Japanese stock market, which resumed trading after a long holiday weekend, is tumbling on Tuesday and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the overnight losses on Wall Street amid fears that the coronarivus outbreak could escalate into a pandemic.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 701.35 points or 3.00 percent to 22,685.39, after touching a low of 22,335.21 in early trades. The Japanese market was closed on Monday for a holiday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is lower by more than 3 percent, while Fast Retailing is losing almost 4 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is falling more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is declining more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are sharply lower on a stronger safe-haven yen. Mitsubishi Electric is falling more than 5 percent, Panasonic is lower by almost 4 percent, Sony is losing almost 3 percent and Canon is declining more than 2 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is declining more than 3 percent and Honda Motor is down more than 2 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is falling more than 7 percent and Inpex is losing almost 5 percent after crude oil prices plunged overnight.

Among the few major gainers, Fujifilm Holdings is rising more than 5 percent.

Conversely, Dentsu Group, Keisei Electric Railway and Pacific Metals are losing more than 5 percent each, while IHI Corp. and Mitsui OSK Lines are lower by almost 5 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan were up 2.3 percent on year in January. That exceeded expectations for a gain of 2.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous three months.

Japan will also release final December figures for its leading and coincident indexes today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 110 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Monday, reflecting concerns about the spread of the coronavirus amid a spike in the number of confirmed cases outside of China. A jump in confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea and Italy as well as new cases in Middle East countries like Iraq and Afghanistan also added to concerns about the outbreak escalating into a pandemic.

The Dow plunged 1,031.61 points or 3.6 percent to 27,960.80, the Nasdaq plummeted 355.31 points or 3.7 percent to 9,221.28 and the S&P 500 tumbled 111.86 points or 3.4 percent to 3,225.89.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index showed a 3.3 percent nosedive, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both plunged by 4 percent.

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Monday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus outside China. WTI crude for April delivery plunged $1.95 or about 3.7 percent to $51.43 a barrel.

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