Nikkei falls as commodity-linked firms hit hard
TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei fell on Thursday as a slide in commodities hurt companies exposed to the industry, while investors were also reluctant to stake out fresh positions ahead of the end of the fiscal year.
The Nikkei share average dropped 0.6 percent to 16,892.33.
Trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd plunged 7.5 percent on news the company is set to post its first net loss after a slide in energy and metal prices forced it to book 260 billion yen ($2.30 billion) in writedowns.
Mitsubishi Corp fell 4.1 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported it would also post its first annual loss due to massive writedowns resulting from the commodities slump.
Oil shares underperformed after oil prices continued to slide. Inpex Corp tumbled 5.0 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co shed 4.0 percent.
The broader Topix fell 0.7 percent to 1,354.61 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.7 percent to 12,222.92. ($1 = 112.8100 yen) (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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