TOKYO - Japanese share prices opened 0.43 per cent lower Thursday, after US stocks dropped on heavy volume as worries about Libya depressed global markets and drove up crude prices to two-year highs.
The Nikkei index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange opened down 45.90 points at 10,533.20. Analysts said investors also watched out for a stronger yen.
"Investors will be cautious to see if the Nikkei falls below 10,500, which may signal the start of a bearish market," Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets, told Dow Jones Newswires.
He added that market participants will pay attention to whether other Asian markets decline as crude continues rising, which has accelerated inflation concerns in the region.
Overnight on Wall Street, airline shares were hammered for a second day over the prospect of higher fuel costs, while oil companies gained for the same reason.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 107.01 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 12105.78, after trading down nearly 150 points during the session. The broader S&P 500 gave up 8.04 points, or 0.61 per cent, while the tech-focused Nasdaq lost 33.43, or 1.21 per cent, at 2,722.99.
The dollar fetched 82.33 yen in early Tokyo trade, down from 82.46 in New York late Wednesday. The euro eased to 113.29 yen, compared with 113.37 yen.