Tokyo stocks open lower on worries over Italy

AFP – Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday, extending falls on global bourses on fears over political uncertainty in Italy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.67 percent, or 374.17 points, to 21,984.26 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 1.59 percent, or 28.10 points, at 1,733.75.

"Risk-off sentiment is getting stronger on the backdrop of the chaotic European situation," Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary, referring to Italian political turmoil.

The losses in Japanese shares come after US and European stock markets and the euro plunged again Tuesday as political uncertainty in Italy stoked fears about the country potentially crashing out of the eurozone.

The safe haven currency yen firmed against the dollar and the euro in early Asian trade, with the dollar fetching 108.42 yen against 108.97 yen in New York late Tuesday.

Carmakers were among the losers, with Honda diving 3.36 percent to 3,416 yen, Toyota trading down 1.60 percent at 6,864 yen, and Nissan down 1.80 percent 1,088 yen.

Banks fell, with Mitsubishi UFJ Finanicial losing 2.84 percent to 664.8 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial down 2.59 percent at 4,435 yen.

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