Nikkei plunges in early trading after Fed chief's hawkish remarks

Tokyo stocks plunged Monday in early trading, with the Nikkei index falling below the 28,000 mark for the first time in three weeks, after hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sent U.S. stocks sharply lower late last week.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 683.03 points, or 2.38 percent, from Friday to 27,958.35. The broader Topix index was down 37.83 points, or 1.91 percent, at 1,941.76.

On the top-tier Prime Market, decliners were led by precision instrument, electric appliance, and metal product issues.

The U.S. dollar rose to around a five-week high after Powell underlined the central bank's resolve to fight inflation, fueling expectations of wider interest rate gaps between the United States and Japan, which is keeping intact its ultraloose monetary policy.

At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 138.16-19 yen compared with 137.62-72 yen in New York and 137.01-04 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

The euro was quoted at $0.9934-0.9938 and 137.25-33 yen against $0.9960-9970 and 137.00-10 yen in New York and at $0.9973-9975 and 136.65-69 yen in Tokyo late Friday afternoon.

© Kyodo News