Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/Issei Kato
Not looking good.

Japan’s stock market just had its worst day since 2013

Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Japan’s financial markets were back in turmoil today (Feb. 9). Stocks fell more than 5% and the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond went below zero for the first time (paywall). The poor performance followed a bank-led sell-off in the US and Europe yesterday.

The Nikkei 225 finished 5.4% lower, its worst one-day drop since June 13, 2013, thanks to fears of a global economic slowdown that hit Japan’s financial stocks especially hard (paywall). Shares in Nomura Holdings, a major Japanese financial group, dropped 9.1%, hitting their lowest level in three years.

Even before today’s gloom, February wasn’t looking like a good month for investors:

The yen, typically viewed as a safe haven from market turmoil, rose 1% to ¥114.75 per dollar, the strongest level since November 2014. That, in turn, hit the stocks of companies that make a lot of their money overseas, from Nissan to Nintendo.

Meanwhile, the yield on the Japanese government’s benchmark 10-year bond fell below zero. That was the most dramatic consequence yet of the Bank of Japan adopting negative short-term interest rates for the first time on Jan. 29, and suggests investors expect the bank to cut interest rates even further in hopes of boosting the battered economy.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.