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TOKYO: Tokyo’s key Nikkei index plunged more than three percent in morning trade on Friday, following falls in tech shares on Wall Street and as Middle East tensions rattle markets.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 3.08 percent, or 1,170.97 points, to 36,908.73 at around 0145 GMT.

The broader Topix index fell 2.53 percent, or 67.65 points, to 2,609.80.

“Chip-linked shares are facing heavy selling” in Tokyo as “expectations fade for US rate cuts, and after Taiwan’s TSMC revised down its market outlook”, Hideyuki Suzuki of SBI Securities said.

Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC fell 4.9 percent on Wall Street on Thursday after it pointed to “weakening macroeconomic conditions” and softening demand.

Earlier Thursday, TSMC – which dominates the world’s chip-making industry – announced a nearly nine percent increase in net profit in the first quarter.

Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said investors across Asian markets were hoping “to salvage a challenging week”.

Nikkei snaps losing streak as chip-sector stocks rebound

“Prevailing global unease and a cautious attitude towards risk-taking ahead of the weekend (yes, the Middle East is still on the radar), compounded by relentless waves of hawkish Fed speak, could limit any appetite for upside moves,” he said in a note.

Among major shares in Tokyo, electronics maker TDK dropped 4.64 percent to 6,985 yen and IT investment company SoftBank Group sank 3.86 percent to 7,572 yen.

Chip and electronics parts maker Rohm was down 3.93 percent at 2,114 yen.

Sony Group was down 2.55 percent at 12,435 yen after reports said the company was in talks with Apollo Global Management about a potential joint bid for film and TV giant Paramount Global.

Toyota was off 2.67 percent at 3,506 yen.

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