Japanese stocks opened sharply lower on Tuesday following heavy losses on Wall Street and European markets.

As of 9:17 am (0017 GMT), the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average had lost 342.31 points, or 3.76 per cent, to trade at 8,755.25, falling below the 9,000 level for the first time since March 17.

The broader-based Topix index was down 27.06 points, or 3.46 per cent, at 755.8.

On Monday, stocks nose-dived on Wall Street after Friday’s downgrading of US government debt by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 634.76 points, or 5.55 per cent, to 10,809.85.

In Tokyo, on currency markets at 9 am (0000 GMT), the dollar traded at 77.61-66 yen, down from Monday’s 5 pm quote of 77.88-89 yen.

The euro traded at 1.4178-4179 dollars, down from 1.4357-4358 dollars Monday, and at 110.08-11 yen, down from 111.80-84 yen.

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