Nikkei slips after oil prices drop, Wall Street shares fall
* Investors fret over global growth prospects * Markets eye European and Chinese manufacturing data * Takata shares fall to 18-month low By Thomas Wilson TOKYO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Thursday as a fall in Wall Street shares and a decline in crude oil prices underscored investor concerns about fragile global growth prospects. The Nikkei share index lost 0.7 percent to 15,089.14 by 0100 GMT. Wall Street shares slid on Wednesday after big gains in the past few days. [ID: nL2N0SH2QI] Oil prices also fell sharply, pressured by data that showed a second big jump in weekly U.S. crude stockpiles, as well as a rising U.S. dollar and falling equity markets. [ID: nL6N0SH1EW] U.S. crude futures slipped in Asia on Wednesday to near a two-year low of $79.78 hit last week. Shares in Japanese trading companies, sensitive to fluctuations in energy prices, sagged in response. Mitsui & Co Ltd lost 1.6 percent and Marubeni shed 0.5 percent, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange's grouping of oil and coal shares slumped 1.5 percent. Also playing on investor nerves was manufacturing data from China and Europe due later today. Signs of the Chinese and euro zone economies losing momentum have stoked global growth fears this month, and any fresh suggestion of economic weakness is likely to further unnerve investors. "China's growth rate is dropping, and investors are really worried at how far it might fall," said Makoto Kikuchi, CEO at Myojo Asset Management in Tokyo. A slightly weaker yen failed to provide any respite for investors. Marginally higher-than-expected U.S. inflation data saw the greenback tick up to 107.18 yen, up almost a full yen from Tuesday's low of 106.15. However, exporter shares were largely flat in response. Nikon Corp shed 0.3 percent, while Canon Inc dropped 0.3 percent. Shares in airbag maker Takata fell sharply, hitting a 1 1/2 year low, as U.S. regulators expanded the number of vehicles with the company's faulty airbags that may be affected by recalls. The company's shares fell as much as 5 percent, their lowest level since February last year, even though the company said that it sees limited additional cost increases even after the U.S. regulator's move. [ID: nL2N0SH0RV] The broader Topix dropped 0.7 percent to 1,227.74, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also slipped 0.7 percent to 11,166.22. (Editing by Eric Meijer)
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