JAPAN'S benchmark Nikkei closed nearly 11% lower today as the country’s worsening nuclear crisis sparked more heavy selling by investors.
The flight from riskier assets towards safer havens also caused the FTSE 100 Index to tumble by more than 89 points to 5686.3, a drop of 1.5%.
The blue-chip index has lost all of its gains for the year as Japan’s earthquake crisis adds to ongoing concerns about European sovereign debt and unrest in key oil-producing nations such as Libya.
As well as fears over the radiation leak at Japan’s Fukushima plant, analysts said the need for Japanese investors to repatriate funds in advance of the country’s rebuilding programme was also impacting on markets.
Among individual stocks, luxury goods firm Burberry dropped another 5% on fears over a major hit to revenues from its key Japanese market. Shares were down 4% on Monday night and dropped another 55.5p to 1067.5p today.
Energy and mining engineering company Amec, which provides services to the nuclear sector, also continued to fall, down 4% or 46p to 1069p.
Elsewhere, shares in department store chain Debenhams rose after it said headline profits in the first half of its financial year were expected to be ahead of last year and in line with market consensus. The update was met with relief by investors as shares rallied 2p to 60.7p.