Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Japanese woe hits markets

AFP , TOKYO

A scandal at one of Japan's top Internet firms reverberated across Asia yesterday, dragging down stock markets after the region's biggest bourse in Tokyo was forced to call an early close.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange took the unprecedented step of shutting down 20 minutes ahead of schedule to hold off a stampede of investors selling off the market and threatening to crash the system.

The region was battered by the escalating woes of Japan's Livedoor Co, once seen as a symbol of youth in Asia's largest economy but now beset by allegations of cooking the books and illegal insider trading.

Livedoor's offices were raided late on Monday for suspected illegal securities trading and other wrong-doings and Japanese newspapers carried fresh allegations yesterday that the Internet firm cooked the books to hide losses.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei-225 benchmark index nosedived 464.77 points or 2.94 percent at 15,341.18 points by the early close but at one point had sunk as far as 4.7 percent into the red before recovering.

In Taipei, the TAIEX dropped 3.16 percent at 6,498.92. Grand Cathay Investment Services Corp chairman Tu Jin-lung (杜金龍) said Wall Street and Intel triggered investor caution in early trade, which was then fueled by the slide in Tokyo and local political concerns.

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Stocks jolted after slump on Wall Street and Tokyo

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