“For Japanese markets, the return from the New Year’s day holidays has been bitter,” said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist at broker IG Group.
Apple, among the world’s most widely held stocks, on Thursday plummeted 10% in its darkest day in six years.
Like many other major markets, Japanese stocks are on a dismal run. The Nikkei fell about 15% last year, more than double the loss of the Dow in 2018.
Traders may also have been spooked by movements in the yen Thursday, when the Japanese currency unexpectedly rose sharply against the dollar. A stronger yen is often bad for Japanese stocks, because it can hurt corporate earnings in the country’s large export sector.
Investors may find little comfort in the strength of Japan’s economy.
The world’s third-biggest economy faces serious challenges, including a rapidly aging population, a lack of women in the workforce and stubbornly low inflation.
An anticipated rise in consumption tax later in 2019 could also weigh on the Japanese economy.
Matt Egan and Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.
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