Tokyo's Nikkei ends down 4 percent after US rout

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Tokyo (AFP)

Tokyo's key Nikkei index tumbled four percent at the close on Friday after a rout on Wall Street as rising bond yields in the United States and elsewhere stoked inflation fears.

The Nikkei gave up 3.99 percent, or 1,202.26 points, to 28,966.01, marking its largest fall since June 2016.

The broader Topix index dropped 3.21 percent, or 61.74 points, to 1,864.49.

"Equities are starting to quiver on the outlook for higher rates with losses led by the tech sector," said Tapas Strickland, senior analyst at National Australia Bank.

SMBC Nikko Securities said "rapid surge of the US yield heightened the sense of caution and triggered selling across the board."

"Falls did not stop in the afternoon session and the market ended at the day's low," the brokerage said.

Stocks had been under pressure as investors monitored the 10-year US Treasury yield, which has been rising sharply in recent days and got as high as 1.61 percent on Thursday.

Investors fear a spike in inflation will prompt the US Federal Reserve to shift away from easy-money policies and quickly raise interest rates -- despite the central bank's assurances to the contrary.

The Dow dropped 1.8 percent to 31,402.01, retreating from an all-time high set Wednesday.

Falls of Wall Street pressed investors in Tokyo to hit the sell button from early in the trading day, analysts said.

HongKong's Hang Seng index dropped more than three percent while Shanghai also trended lower.

"Falls in other Asian markets encouraged investors to wait and see what happens," Okasan Online Securities said.

"People refrained from making aggressive moves, as it is the end of the month and ahead of a weekend," Okasan added.

The dollar stayed relatively stable, changing hands at 106.18 yen in Asian trade, against 106.25 yen in New York but higher than 105.89 yen in Tokyo late Thursday.

Blue-chip and tech shares in Tokyo were hit hard.

Sony fell 3.89 percent to 11,120 yen. Tokyo Electron, the world's third-largest producer of tools to produce semiconductors, fell 4.70 percent to 43,550 yen.

Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing lost 4.15 percent to 105,000 yen.

Toyota dropped 1.81 percent to 7,873 yen.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group went above water for a moment in the late morning before ending down 1.78 percent at 558 yen.