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Cryptocurrency crash ripples through Tokyo stocks

Traders may be unloading shares to cover losses and prepare for taxes

TOKYO -- This week's plunge in cryptocurrency prices appears to have prompted sell-offs in some corners of Japan's equity market as squeezed investors seek quick cash, a trend that could accelerate as tax season approaches.

Cryptocurrency exchange operator GMO Internet tumbled nearly 5% Friday and gave up 1% over the four sessions through that day, after soaring 35% from the start of 2017 through Monday. Ceres, which invests in Tokyo-based crypto exchange Bitbank, retreated 18% over the four-day period, while SBI Holdings, a shareholder in the company behind virtual currency ripple, lost 4%. The two Japanese stocks had been up 48% and 78%, respectively, since the start of 2017.

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