By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Following overnight weakness in U.S. markets, Japan stocks fell on Tuesday for a fifth day in a row, closing at the lowest level in two months, as the yen strengthened against the dollar.
The Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.67% slid 2.4% to 14,936.51, breaking the key 15,000 mark. The broader Topix /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 -3.65% also shredded 2.3%. Meanwhile, the yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -1.3670% strengthened to ¥107.15 against the dollar, compared with ¥107.00 a day earlier.
Stocks declined across the board, with auto makers and tech exporters losing heavily.
Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 -3.48% skidded 3.9%, Mazda Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204777714/delayed JP:7261 -4.82% fell 3.7%, and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -1.42% and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 -4.26% both dropped 2%.
The tech sector also took a hard hit, with index heavyweight SoftBank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -4.31% pulling back 3.1%. Among other losers in the sector, camera maker Olympus Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed JP:7733 -2.87% sank 4.4%, electronic giant Sharp Corporation /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 -5.05% tumbled 4.2%, semiconductor manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203872935/delayed JP:6723 -7.00% lost 3.9%, media conglomerate Sony Corporation /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 -3.87% declined 3.2%, and electronics maker Panasonic Corporation /zigman2/quotes/201785256/delayed JP:6752 -4.85% gave up 3.1%.
Energy shares suffered from the falling international crude prices, with Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. down 4.4%, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201212147/delayed JP:1662 -5.83% off 3.2%, and Inpex Corporation /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -2.67% lower by 1.1%.
In other Asian markets, Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks both finished lower, with the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.42% and the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -3.71% down 0.4% and 0.3% respectively.
However, Australian stocks advanced, as the S&P/ASX 200 settled /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -3.25% 1% higher, while the Aussie dollar /zigman2/quotes/210560947/realtime/sampled AUDUSD -0.9741% slipped to 87.53 U.S. cents from 87.58 U.S. cents in the previous day.
South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -3.30% also eked out gains, ending up 0.1%.