Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tokyo in Chaos as Share Prices Crash

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tokyo in Chaos as Share Prices Crash

Article excerpt


SHARE prices on the Tokyo stock market suffered a second consecutive day of huge falls today amid chaotic trading that dragged the Nikkei 225 back below the 15,500-level.

Trading was eventually suspended with dealers unable to cope with the vast number of sell orders generated by investors looking to close their open positions.

More than $300 billion ([pounds sterling]170 billion) has been wiped from the market's value this week, equivalent to the gross domestic product of a country the size of Sweden, dealers said.

At one stage, the lead indicator on the world's second-biggest stock market was down more than 700 points, stretching its two-day fall to around 7%. The Nikkei 225 eventually reduced the deficit to close down 464.77 at 15,341.18 - its biggest one-day fall since April last year.

It was at that point a halt was called to trading and the session was prematurely brought to a close.

Behind the sell-off was another raid on the offices of internet service provider Livedoor amid allegations of false accounting.

The selling spilled over into other internet companies with Softbank Corporation down 13%.

Over in Hong Kong, meanwhile, share prices were also beating a ragged retreat with the Hang Seng down 147.92 points at 15,428.28 by the end of the morning session.

Earlier, rising oil prices had overshadowed trading in New York last night and the Dow finished the day 63.55 lower at 10,896.32.

Back in London, PartyGaming has become a focus of interest.

For two days in a row shares of online poker playing PartyGaming have topped the list of bestperforming blue-chips that make up the Footsie 100 index.

More than 20 million shares changed hands yesterday as the price rallied to its highest since September last year ahead of next week's fourth-quarter trading update.

It will be a chance for the group to rectify the disquiet it caused among City investors in October when it warned that the explosive growth it had boasted about when the company had floated last June was unsustainable.

Offered at 116p, the shares soon enjoyed a strong following as the boom in internet gambling gathered pace, reaching a peak of 176p just a month later. …

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