Japanese shares sharply lower Monday

TOKYO, June 9, 2008 (AFP) – Japanese shares were trading sharply lower early Monday after falls on Wall Street on Friday and a record surge in crude oil prices combined with a sharp jump in US unemployment.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index fell 343.04 points or 2.37 percent to 14,146.40 about fifteen minutes after the opening bell, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was at 1,398.22, down 29.89 points or 2.09 percent.

A combination of factors such as poor US jobs data released Friday and surging oil prices “as well as an overheated Japanese market will likely send stocks lower,” Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at Nikko Cordial Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires ahead of the Tokyo market opening. He also said exporters may fall and banks may be sold on profit-taking.