Nikkei slides, led by Wall Street

<p>Better-than-expected US job data renewed speculation on an early interest rate hike by the Fed.</p>

Tokyo stocks fell sharply today (March 9th) on profit-taking after Wall Street’s slide on Friday over concern over an early interest rate hike.

The 225-issue Nikkei average was down 0.95 per cent to end at 18,790.55, while the Topix index of all first-section issues edged down 0.59 per cent to 1,531.76.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average hit a one-month closing low after better-than-expected US government employment data for February, which sparked speculation of an early interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

The jobs report "should play out in terms of further weakness in stock markets," Richard Gibbs, Sydney-based head of economics at Macquarie Group Ltd., told Bloomberg TV. "Those expectations of normalisation of interest rates were brought forward again. A lot is going to rest on what is said or is not said by Fed officials in the U.S. this week."

Trading sentiment was also hampered by a downward revision to Japan’s GDP for October-December.

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