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Japan’s Nikkei plunges after Wall Street’s latest slide – MarketWatch

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Japanese stocks plunged Tuesday and other Asian markets declined following heavy Wall Street losses triggered by President Donald Trump’s attack on the U.S. central bank.

The Nikkei 225

NIK, -5.01%

  fell by an unusually wide margin of about 5%, hitting its lowest point since May 2017. Loses were widespread, with all 33 Tokyo Stock Exchange subsectors posting losses. Fuji Electric

6504, -7.55%

  was down 7%, SoftBank Group

9984, -7.58%

  was off 7%, Fast Retailing

9983, -4.13%

  fell 4.5% and Toyota

7203, -5.25%

  sank 5%.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index

SHCOMP, -0.88%

  lost 2.4% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite

399106, -0.81%

 fell 2.8%. Taiwan’s benchmark index

Y9999, -1.17%

  also declined more than 1%.

Markets in Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea were closed for Christmas.

“The sell-off is triggered almost entirely by developments in the U.S. markets, rather than by negative factors unique to the domestic market,” Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities in Tokyo, told CNBC.

Wall Street indexes fell more than 2% on Monday after Trump said on Twitter the Federal Reserve was the U.S. economy’s “only problem.” Efforts by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to calm investor fears only seemed to make matters worse.

U.S. stocks are track for their worst December since 1931 during the Great Depression.

Read: Which stock and bond markets close, and when, for Christmas and New Year’s holidays

The market has been roiled by concerns about a slowing global economy, the trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Fed.

Trump’s Monday morning tweet heightened fears about the economy being destabilized by a president who wants control over the Fed. Its board members are nominated by the president, but they make decisions independently of the White House. The board’s chairman, Jerome Powell, was nominated by Trump last year.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” the president said on Twitter. “They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch — he can’t putt!”

The S&P 500 index

SPX, -2.71%

  slid 2.7% to 2,351.10. The benchmark index is now down 19.8% from its peak on Sept. 20, close to the 20% drop that would officially mean the end of the longest bull market for stocks in modern history — a run of nearly 10 years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -2.91%

  sank 2.9% to 21,792.20. The Nasdaq skidded 2.2% to 6,192.92.

On Sunday, Mnuchin made a round of calls to the heads of the six largest U.S. banks, but the move only raised new concerns about the economy.

Most economists expect U.S. economic growth to slow in 2019, not slide into a full-blown recession. But the president has voiced his anger over the Fed’s decision to raise its key short-term rate four times in 2018. That is intended to prevent the economy from overheating.

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