Nikkei closes below 9,500 for first time since Nov.30

20:39, May 25, 2010      

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Japan's Nikkei stock index dropped more than 3 percent to its lowest close in almost six months Tuesday as the stability of financial institutions in the euro zone contributed to ongoing concerns over sovereign debt and a stronger yen further added to investor consternation.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 298.51 points, or 3.06 percent, from Monday to 9,459.89. The last time the index closed below the 9,500 line was November 30.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 20.19 points, or 2.29 percent, to 859.82, the lowest level since December 2.

Brokers said news that four Spanish savings banks submitted a proposal to the nation's central bank to merge their businesses has rattled financial markets as it now seems evident the Bank of Spain seeks to amalgamate the weakest of the country's mutually owned banks -- the same banks that increased lending more than fivefold during Spain's economic boom and are now responsible for around 50 percent of the country's outstanding loans.

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