Japan's Nikkei stock benchmark ended lower Wednesday, extending its losing streak to eight days for the first time since July 2009, as sentiment was hurt by deepening uncertainty over the global economic recovery amid higher oil prices and the prospect of rising inflation in the United States.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 293.25 points, or 1.05 percent, from Tuesday at 27,528.87, its lowest closing level since Aug. 23. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 5.84 points, or 0.30 percent, lower at 1,941.91.
Decliners were led by air transportation, marine transportation, and warehousing and harbor transportation service issues.
The U.S. dollar inched up into the upper 111 yen range as the unit was bought on speculation a rise in U.S. Treasury yields would cause the interest rate gap between the United States and Japan to widen, dealers said.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 111.67-68 yen compared with 111.42-52 yen in New York and 111.09-10 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The euro was quoted at $1.1556-1557 and 129.05-09 yen against $1.1592-1602 and 129.23-33 yen in New York and $1.1597-1598 and 128.83-87 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose 0.020 percentage point from Tuesday's close to 0.080 percent, its highest level since early June, led by an overnight rise in U.S. counterparts after a surge in oil prices fueled concerns regarding inflation. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
Tokyo stocks were initially higher, tracking gains on Wall Street the day before. But they later fell into negative territory also on lingering worries about the debt-laden Chinese property developer Evergrande Group and the lack of agreement in the U.S. Congress over the country's debt ceiling, brokers said.
"The market's fall comes amid an absence of fresh trading cues, although the ongoing climb in oil prices was a negative factor for the market, as its rise is expected to squeeze corporate profits," said Koichi Fujishiro, a senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.
Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's lack of specific economic policies also weighed on the market, he said.
Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura Securities Co.'s investment content department, said the market may remain bearish until numerous external factors revolving around the United States and China are resolved.
On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,073 to 1,015, while 95 ended unchanged.
Marine transportation issues were lower on concerns over a slowdown in China's growth. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha sank 300 yen, or 5.6 percent, to 5,060 yen, and Nippon Yusen fell 300 yen, or 3.9 percent, to 7,370 yen.
Bucking the downward trend, energy-related shares were notably higher after West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures continued to rise and closed at $78.93 per barrel overnight, the highest finish since October 2014.
Inpex surged 33 yen, or 3.5 percent, to 976 yen, Idemitsu Kosan soared 165 yen, or 5.4 percent, to 3,225 yen, and Cosmo Energy Holdings advanced 56 yen, or 2.2 percent, to 2,636 yen.
Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,673.82 million shares from Tuesday's 1,511.32 million shares.