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Japanese stocks jolted by US rate rise concerns

Nikkei benchmark down over 3% as sell-off spans multiple sectors

The Nikkei index at one point fell over 1,000 points, or 3.5%, to reach its lowest level since May 20. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- Japan's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average fell sharply on Monday after indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve could move away from ultra-easy monetary policies sooner than expected.

The Nikkei index dropped over 1,100 points, or 4%, at one point to its lowest level since May 17, before closing the day down 3.3%. The benchmark recorded the biggest percentage drop in nearly four months, with shares in 96% of the index's 225 companies trading lower. The broader Topix index closed down 2.4% while the startup-heavy Mothers market fell 1.8%.

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