Japan's Nikkei index slumps more than 3% at open

A pedestrian looking at a quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on April 28, 2016.
A pedestrian looking at a quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on April 28, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo stocks tumbled at the start of trade on Monday (May 2) as a surging yen hurt exporters after trading resumed following a public holiday.

The sell-off comes after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) on Thursday surprised markets by holding off fresh stimulus, sending the yen soaring. Markets had widely expected new measures to counter a downturn in the world's number-three economy.

On Monday, the dollar fell to 106.22 yen from 106.31 on Friday in US trade and down sharply from 108.58 yen in Tokyo in the wake of Japan's central bank decision on Thursday.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 3.81 per cent, or 634.15 points, to 16,031.90 in early trade, extending last week's rout in global equity markets.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 3.18 per cent, or 42.68 points, to 1,297.87.

The Japanese currency's surge has put downward pressure on Japan's export giants such as Toyota and Honda since it reduces the value of overseas profits.

"We expect short-term share market volatility to remain high," Mr Shane Oliver, the Sydney-based head of investment strategy AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg News.

"Failure by the BoJ to do more soon risks unwinding all the progress on inflation expectations seen under Abenomics, particularly with the yen breaking to ever higher levels."

While the Tokyo market was closed on Friday, US stocks traded deeply in the red on Friday, with the Dow finishing 0.3 per cent lower, the S&P 500 off 0.5 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq down 0.6 per cent.

In Europe, Frankfurt sank 2.7 per cent, Paris fell 2.8 per cent and London 1.3 per cent.

Toyota shed 4.52 per cent to 5,398 yen, Nissan lost 5.14 per cent to 948.6 yen and Honda dropped 5.56 per cent to 2,826 yen.

Oil-linked stocks traded sharply lower, with energy explorer Inpex falling 5.43 per cent to 839.9 yen and JX Holdings off 4.01 per cent at 451.7 yen.

Crisis-hit Takata nosedived 12.89 per cent to 358 yen after reports in various media said more than 100 million vehicles equipped with air bags made by the company are likely to be subject to global recalls, up from the current 60 million.

The auto parts giant has been hammered by an exploding air bag defect blamed for at least 11 deaths.

Tokyo equity markets will be closed again for public holidays from Tuesday to Thursday this week.