( dpa ) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged more than 700 points, or 5 per cent, Tuesday on fears of a global credit crunch caused by the US subprime home-loan crisis. The Nikkei index lost 752.89 points, or 5.65 per cent, to end at its lowest closing since September 2005 at 12,573.05. The broader Topix index of all first-section issues also fell 73.79 points, or 5.7 per cent, to 1,219.95, which is the lowest closing figure since August 2005. Following Tuesday morning's market plunge, Japan's economic and fiscal policy minister said the government would continue to closely monitor the stock prices. Minister Hiroko Ota said at a press conference that the losses at the Tokyo market were affected by the US subprime mortgage crisis. But the government would not take any immediate action, Ota said. Japan's central bank, in the meantime, decided to keep the key short-term interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent at its two-day policy meeting amid heightening concerns over a possible global recession. On currency markets at midday (0300 GMT), the dollar traded at 106.36-41 yen, up from Monday's 5 pm quote of 106.33-35 yen. The euro was quoted at 1.4447-52 dollars, down from Monday's quote of 1.4537-39 dollars, and at 153.69-74 yen, down from 154.58-62 yen.
Nikkei index plummets 5 per cent on credit crunch fears
22 January 2008 10:45 (UTC+04:00)