TOKYO — The Nikkei stock index finished a shortened session today with a 360.69-point loss, closing 1992 at 16,924.95--a 26% drop for the year, the third consecutive bear market year for the troubled Japanese market.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange closed at midday for the extended New Year's holiday. Trading won't resume until Monday, Jan. 4.
The market's 2.1% loss today was a particular disappointment to traders who had hoped that the Nikkei could finish 1992 above 17,000 for psychological reasons.
Earlier this month, many analysts believed that the Nikkei could hold above 18,000, thanks to steady demand for stocks from Japan's public investment funds.
The country's Finance Ministry in August cleared $22.6 billion in postal savings, life insurance and pension funds for investment in stocks to stem a steady downfall in prices. The plan helped lift the Nikkei from a six-year low of 14,309.41 on Aug. 18.
But investment by the funds and others has dwindled in recent weeks, with no signs of reversal in Japan's poor economic outlook and dismal corporate profit picture.
Since peaking at 38,915.90 on Dec. 29, 1989, the Nikkei has now lost 56.5% of its value.