Tokyo / BLOOMBERG
Tokyo stocks fell on Tuesday as a stronger yen hit exporters and auto parts giant Takata dived on news it could be hit with tens of millions more recalls linked to a deadly airbag scandal.
The market got off to a strong start, tracking a rally on world bourses as oil prices picked up.
But those gains fizzled out as crude prices reversed course and the yen rose, which is a negative for exporters’ profitability and tends to hit demand for their shares.
Mace Blicksilver, the US-based director of Marblehead Asset Management, said he was cautious about the prospect for further gains after a rout on global markets since the start of the year.
“I just don’t think everything that was a concern two weeks ago has gone away,” he said.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.37 percent, or 59.00 points, to close at 16,052.05. The Topix index of all first-section shares was down 0.68 percent, or 8.83 points, at 1,291.17.
Among the decliners, Sony fell 2.11 percent to 2,435.5 yen and Honda was down 0.63 percent to 2,906.5 yen.
Takata plunged 4.33 percent to 485 yen as the US auto safety regulator said Monday that tens of millions more cars could be recalled over an airbag defect linked to at least 10 deaths globally and scores of injuries.
Some 28 million Takata airbags have already been recalled in the United States. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said suspect airbags still under investigation “number in the multiple tens of millions”.
Investigators increasingly suspect that the chemical used to inflate Takata airbags can be unstable — especially under constant heat and humidity — and cause the inflator to rupture, spraying metal parts at drivers and passengers. On currency markets, the dollar dropped to 112.35 yen from 112.91 yen in New York.