Nikkei slumps to 2-month low on mounting geopolitical concerns

Thu Aug 7, 2014 10:32pm EDT

* Tensions in Ukraine, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq sour
sentiment
    * Nikkei falls below 200-day moving average
    * Earning disappointment hits Nisshin Steel, Mitsubishi
Materials

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
slumped to two-month lows on Friday on worries that escalating
tensions between Russia and the West could hurt the global
growth.
    The Nikkei average fell 3.0 percent to 14,774.87,
falling below an important support from its 200-day moving
average at 14,958, to its lowest levels since mid-June.
    Risk appetite was depressed on concerns that Russia's ban on
certain food imports from the West in retaliation against the
West's sanctions on Moscow could hurt an already-fragile
European economy.  
    "Europe doesn't look good. Deflationary conditions are
strengthening, raising concerns that monetary easing by the ECB
may not be working. If you have geopolitical worries at a time
like this, it's inevitable to see weakness in shares," said
Hiroshi Ono, the head of equity investment at Sumitomo Life.
    The losses briefly widened after U.S. President Barack Obama
said he authorised targeted air strikes against Islamic State
fighters in northern Iraq to help besieged religious minorities
there to prevent a "potential act of genocide". 
    Softbank was the biggest drag, falling 3.1 percent
as their shares smarted from the shock that its U.S. subsidiary
Sprint Corp abandoned its bid to acquire T-Mobile U.S. Inc
, a major part of Softbank's strategy to expand its U.S.
business.
    Japan Tobacco, which has a large exposure to
Russia, fell 3.1 percent.
    Some companies' disappointed investors, which could lead to
worries that the impact of a sales tax hike in April could be
bigger than initially thought. 
    Nisshin Steel fell 11.5 percent while Mitsubishi
Materials Corp fell 10.6 percent and Nippon Electric
Glass fell 10.0 percent.
    The broader Topix fell 2.4 percent to 1,227.92 while
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also dropped 2.4 percent.
    The Bank of Japan is widely expected to keep its policy on
hold at its two-day policy meeting ending later in the day.

 (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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