February 14 2008.

The Tokyo stock market last week grew jittery over the U.S. economic outlook, with the Nikkei Stock Average plunging 646.26 points on Feb. 6. The index ended the week at 13,017.24, down 479.92 points from Feb. 1.

Investors sold shares in companies that are prone to swings in U.S. consumer spending. Yamaha Motor Co.'s stock tumbled about 20% Feb. 5-6 after the company said it is forecasting an operating profit decline for the fiscal year through December.

Market pessimism over the U.S. economy receded after the announcement of a $150 billion emergency economic package and a series of policy rate cuts. But players resumed a cautious stance after the U.S. Institute for Supply Management on Feb. 5 released a bearish nonmanufacturing report for January.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said Feb. 7 that overseas investors accounted for 69.2% of trading value at the nation's three major exchanges in January, up from 62.4% the previous month and the highest mark ever.

Trading by retail investors, meanwhile, represented 19.7% of last month's total on the three exchanges, down from more than 40% two years ago. In the past, individuals tended to buy after stocks slumped but are now sitting on the sidelines. 

Source: Nikkeinet