Tokyo stock prices fell sharply Thursday, continuing a downward slide that has sheared 8.3% from a key market index in the past three weeks.
Despite a minor rally Thursday morning, the Nikkei-Dow Jones index of 225 key stocks fell 545.26 points to close at 17,019.13. The decline was second only to a plunge of 637.33 points Sept. 16.
Prices on the Tokyo exchange have been declining steadily since Sept. 12, when the market suddenly turned bearish after an 84-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average in New York the day before.
Analysts interpreted Thursday's decline in Tokyo as an indication that the market was still overheated and that investors were afraid that stock prices were artificially high due to a wave of large-volume speculative buying. Many of Japan's major manufacturing firms have turned to speculating on the stock market in order to offset declining profits from exports.