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Markets

Yen surges to 5-month high, threatening rocky Tokyo market

Treasurys also attract funds amid coronavirus volatility

The yen has surged to a 5-month high against the dollar in New York.    © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Jittery investors flocked to the safety of the yen during New York trading on Thursday in a market rocked by coronavirus fears.

The yen strengthened to a roughly five-month high of 106.23 against the dollar at one point in the session. Speculations of a further rate cut by the Federal Reserve also propelled a sell-off in the dollar.

Nikkei Stock Average futures sank in overnight trading in Osaka. Three-month contracts fell 580 points from Thursday's settlement price to end the night session at 20,790 points on Friday.

U.S. equities retreated on Thursday amid a flight from risk, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumping 3.6%. This followed Wednesday's 1,173-point surge, the second-largest ever for the index.

Investors also sought the safe haven of U.S. government debt. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasurys sank as far as 0.898% at one point, an all-time low.

Market players are carefully watching for signs of a further stimulus. There is a chance that "the Fed will ultimately follow its peers in Europe and Japan by adopting negative interest rates," said Nigel Green, chief executive of deVere Group.

Additional reporting by NQN staff writers Atsuko Furue and Takako Iwamoto in New York.

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