The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 221.71 points, or 1.53 percent, from Thursday at 14,313.03. The broader
Trading was volatile. The
The key index gained about 145 points to hit the day's high shortly after the market opening, but it soon turned top-heavy amid a lack of fresh buying incentives.
The Nikkei later fell into negative territory and its loss widened to about 300 points at one stage in the afternoon as the dollar's fall into the
Market players were cautious about making bullish bets amid lingering concern over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery after U.S. retail sales released overnight fell 0.4 percent in January from the previous month, undershooting market expectations, brokers said.
Also fueling worries about the U.S. labor market, data showed initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week.
"Although the cold weather conditions affected the data, it is difficult to become bullish before confirming a recovery in key economic readings," said
"In such a situation, risk-on mood would create a clearer (upward) momentum (for
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,490 to 244 on the First Section, while 47 closed unchanged.
Among exporting companies' shares, Panasonic shed
Among the day's few bright spots was
By sector, real estate, brokerage, and paper and pulp issues were notable decliners while oil and coal issues gained ground.
Trading volume on the main section came to 2,897.26 million shares, up from Thursday's 2,307.66 million shares.
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